Furious anti-vax parents in New York this week are posting memes and images of sad children — and have shown up in person to protest the governor — because a new law prohibiting unvaccinated children from attending school went into effect.
The mandate, enacted in June, “prohibits a school from permitting any child to be admitted to such school, or to attend such school, in excess of 14 days without sufficient evidence that the child has received all age appropriate required vaccinations,”.
Those 14-day grace periods started expiring, which meant school officials barred students from going to class or began removing them from schools, to be picked up by their parents.
State health officials told BuzzFeed News that 26,217 unvaccinated New York children in public schools, private schools, parochial schools, daycare centers, and prekindergarten programs claimed religious exemptions during the 2017–18 school year. New York ended religious exemptions for vaccines in June, following the worst measles outbreaks the state had seen in decades.
Paris Pappas, 43, told Newsday that the ban left local parents in “absolute hell.”
“We’re just watching everybody else’s school life go on, and my life has stopped, basically,” she said, adding that she plans to homeschool her daughters, ages 14, 12, and 6.
Faced with no other options — except vaccinating their children — other New York parents also posted about beginning to homeschool their children.
“This little boy can’t go back to school. Why? Because our state legislature thinks we’re a bunch of ignorant pariahs,” Rita Palma, founder of the anti-vax group My Kids, My Choice, wrote in the photo’s caption. “So the sensible thing to do is deprive children who want to go to school of an education. Makes perfect sense, right? This is so horribly wrong.”
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Palma for comment and more information about the boy in the photograph.
Palma and other New York anti-vaxxers have been comparing the new law banning religious exemptions to the Jim Crow laws and segregation of white and black people in America.
Read more at Buzzfeed News.