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Unvaccinated Teen Sues Health Department After Being Banned From School

He believes vaccines are "immoral and sinful."

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An unvaccinated high school student is suing the Northern Kentucky Health Department (KYHD) after he was banned from his school basketball team amid an outbreak of chickenpox.

According to the KYHD, there have been 32 confirmed cases of the chicken pox at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy in Walton, Kentucky, where Jerome Kunkel is a senior.

Students without proof of vaccination or immunity, like Kunkel, were told they could not return to the private Catholic school until 21 days after the onset of the virus. Kunkel, a center on the Assumption Academy basketball team, was also informed that he was no longer allowed to play sports, Cincinnati.com reports.

“The fact that I can’t finish my senior year in basketball, like, our last couple of games, it’s pretty devastating. I mean, you go through four years of high school playing basketball you look forward to your senior year,” Kunkel, who has not received any immunizations, said in an interview with WLWT.

The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Boone County Circuit Court, states that Kunkel was not vaccinated due to religious beliefs that vaccines are “immoral, illegal and sinful.”

His dad, Brett Kunkel, explained to WLWT, “I don’t believe in that vaccine at all and they are trying to push it on us. The chickenpox vaccine is derived from aborted fetuses. And, of course, as Christians, we’re against abortion.”

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The health department responded to Kunkel’s suit in a statement to Newsweek, stating that the ban “was in direct response to a public health threat and was an appropriate and necessary response to prevent further spread of this contagious illness.”

A similar situation recently arose in New York when 44 students were banned from attending school following a measles outbreak. The judge, in that case, denied the students’ request to return to class.