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New York Judge Won’t Let Unvaccinated Students Return to School

The judge cited an “unprecedented measles outbreak.”

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A federal judge has denied a request for 44 unvaccinated students to return to their school in Rockland County, New York, citing an “unprecedented measles outbreak” in the decision.

“The plaintiffs have not demonstrated that public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction,” U.S. District Court Judge Vincent Briccetti said in federal court.

A measles outbreak began in Rockland County last fall, prompting an order from Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert that banned unvaccinated students from going to school. But the parents of 44 students at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge sued the county health department, arguing that none of the unvaccinated children had contracted measles.

“Preventing my child from being with his class, his teacher, his classroom, has had a significant social and psychological impact,” said an unnamed parent of a 4-year old preschooler after the ruling.

Rockland is currently experiencing the longest measles outbreak in New York since it was believed to be eliminated from the United States back in 2000. 145 cases have been reported since October and three more cases are currently being investigated.

Michael Sussman, the lawyer for the parents and students, criticized Briccetti’s decision, as he was hoping the judge would grant a temporary injunction which would have allowed students to return to school.

This decision comes on the heels of New York politicians introducing a bill that would allow teens to get vaccinated even without the permission of their parents, allowing unvaccinated kids to receive a variety of immunizations, including the one for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).