Unvaccinated Kentucky student sues local health department for banning him from school

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • Jerome Kunkel was barred from entering school because he hadn’t been vaccinated against chickenpox and there was an outbreak of the virus at his school.
  • Kunkel is suing the Northern Kentucky Health Department for not letting him attend class or play sports.
  • Bill Kunkel, Jerome’s dad, says that he doesn’t “believe in the vaccine at all.”



Jerome Kunkel, an 18-year-old student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy in Northern Kentucky, was devastated when he was told that he was banned from school or playing sports due to the fact that he isn’t vaccinated for chickenpox.

“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,” Kunkle told WLWT.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department decided to bar those who haven’t been vaccinated from school due to an outbreak of chickenpox rash. Parents were informed about the policy through a letter on February 21.

The health department warned parents of the outbreak on Feb. 5 and urged them to have their children vaccinated.

Just over a month later, on March 14, 32 cases of chickenpox were confirmed at the school. The department said that those not vaccinated couldn’t enter the school until 21 days after the onset of chickenpox rash on the last sick student or teacher.

Kunkel decided to sue the local health department for not letting him go to school.

His father, Bill Kunkel, says that the department is trying to push the vaccine on them. He also said that he doesn’t “believe in the vaccine at all” and that the family’s Christian faith is what’s keeping his son from getting vaccinated.

The health department said in a statement that their actions regarding the outbreak of chickenpox at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/ Assumption Academy were “appropriate and necessary” to prevent the spread of the illness. Chickenpox can be spread through the air and through contact as well.

 

Source: NBC News

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