The Grapevine

School Kicks Out Disabled Boy Because He Wasn’t Vaccinated

Ameer Hamideh, a disabled 9-year-old boy afflicted with cerebral palsy since age 3, is once again attending classes at the CHC Learning Center in Buffalo, New York, after he was kicked out for being unvaccinated in violation of a New York State law.

Ameer, who was born prematurely and suffered a stroke at birth, also has a rare seizure disorder called Lennox Gastaut syndrome.

Ameer was denied admission to the school, which said it had to abide by New York’s Senate Bill S2994A that removed all non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Ameer’s parents, Ali and Orooba Hamideh, said their son's seizures began after he received his first round of vaccines when he was five months old. He stopped receiving vaccines because of this event.

Ameer was then granted a medical exemption from vaccinations by his neurologist. He was again refused school access after the New York State Department of Health denied the neurologist's exemption. The health department claimed Ameer's seizure isn't a valid reason for not getting a vaccination.

Ameer's parents sued the school and the Erie County Supreme Court judge presiding over the case issued a temporary restraining order on November 12 that allowed Ameer to attend his classes for the duration of the court proceedings. The fight for Ameer's right to study goes on.

The court fight over Ameer's right to attend school while preserving his health by remaining unvaccinated stems from the fact more vaccines are being mandated as a condition for school attendance throughout the United States. On the other hand, vaccine exemptions are increasingly being eliminated.

The reason behind this apparently draconian measure has medical roots. An unvaccinated individual can spread the disease he's carrying -- say, influenza -- to an unsuspecting population that might largely consist of unvaccinated individuals.

But the severity of some of the state laws passed to protect people from diseases that can be prevented by vaccinations sometimes borders on the extreme. For example, New York and California have passed laws removing the legal right for doctors to exercise professional judgment and conscience when granting children medical exemptions to vaccination.

flu vaccine In 2018, flu sent more than 500,000 people to hospitals and caused 50,000 deaths across the U.S. Pixabay

In July 2019, the New York State Department of Health issued a new rule denying New York physicians the legal right to grant a child a medical exemption to vaccination unless the reasons given strictly conform to vaccine contraindications approved by public health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In an interview with Del Bigtree, CEO of the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), Ameer's parents said they attributed their son's seizures when he was five months old to the complications at his birth and not the the vaccines he received. It wasn’t until Ameer got a flu shot at the age of 2 they began suspecting it was the vaccines that were causing Ameer's health problems.

They recounted Ameer's seizures and other symptoms worsened directly after the shot, which was what also happened in previous cases. They decided to not give Ameer any more vaccinatons after researching the issue and finding others whose stories were similar to their own.

They filed a religious vaccine exemption for Ameer. The new New York law, however, meant Ameer could no longer attend school. Ameer wound up missing months in school and therapy over the summer. Dr. Sarah Finnegan, Ameer’s neurologist of nine years issued a medical exemption for the boy.

“Patient carries a diagnosis of Lennox Gastaut with refractory seizures," she wrote in the medical exemption letter. "Patient has a history of hospitalization following immunizations in the past for seizure activity triggered by those immunizations.”

The medical exemption allowed Ameer to return to school but on September 12, the Hamidehs received a copy of a letter from the New York Department of Health sent to Ameer’s school, recommending his medical exemption be denied.

Dr. Elizabeth Rausch-Phung, director of the New York Bureau of Immunization, wrote that "Lennox Gastaut with refractory seizures is not a valid contraindication to this student receiving MMR, varicella, polio, or Tdap vaccines pursuant to Public Health Law (PHL) 2164 and the accompanying regulations at 10 NYCRR Subpart 66-1. Therefore, I recommend against accepting this medical exemption.”

Ameer was again kicked out and the school refused to disregard the health department’s recommendation. The school said it would be “foolish” of them to do so.

Ameer is only one among 26,000 children in New York that lost their right to public education with the passing of S2994A. The fight for Ameer's right to an education goes on.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, emerging science reveals "we are not all the same and do not respond the same way to infectious diseases or vaccines. Responses to infectious diseases and the risk for complications can vary depending upon genes, environment, age and health at the time of infection."

He said it's urgent everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educate the leaders in your community.

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