By Jim Kouri
November 19, 2007
Parents in the United States may be handcuffed and marched into the slammer if they don't have their kids vaccinated at their local schools -- at least that's how officials in Maryland are dealing with noncompliance.
A new law that took effect last year requires students in the fifth through 10th grade to be vaccinated against Chicken Pox and Hepatitis B. Parents of students who refuse to show up or fail to comply with this latest mandate are threatened with fines up to $50 per day and 10 days in the county jail.
In October 2007, close to 2,600 students in Prince George's County, Maryland, and an additional 900 students in Baltimore, were prevented from attending school because they had not received immunizations required by Maryland's health department.
"Students are being kept out of school because they are lacking the immunizations they need to help keep them healthy so they won't miss school and get behind academically due to preventable illnesses," complains Lois Capps, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses.
However, many parents and education policy wonks see Maryland's response to the immunization problem extreme and an infringement on parents' rights to make decisions about the upbringing of their children, including making healthcare decisions for minors under their care.
As a result of strict enforcement of the immunization regulations, some students have missed as much as a month and a half of school because they haven't gotten the required vaccinations for Chickenpox and Hepatitis B.
Maryland's education hierarchy has decided to get tough and take those parents it labels "negligent" to court. "Free clinics, free shots, door-to-door visits, and countless letters. Still more than 2,300 Prince George's county students don't have their required immunizations," claims one proponent of forced immunization.
On Saturday, more than 1600 students and their parents have been ordered to appear in circuit court for the children to be immunized. Healthcare staff will be on hand to provide the vaccinations to the students with their parents present.
"This is yet another example of government bureaucrats infringing on the rights of American parents," said conservative strategist Mike Baker.
"The parents' right to choose what vaccinations their children have or don't have, not some bureaucrat in a state's capital," said Baker.
The first mandates were put in place in early 1900s, after the Supreme Court ruled, through Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, that the states have the right to make vaccinations a requirement for school attendance. States also have the right to use police power to enforce for health reasons if the State deemed it necessary.
Most school requirements were passed in the 1960s-1970s as part of a national effort to eliminate measles. The force behind the enactment of vaccine requirements was the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation, a Washington DC-based charity concerned with mental retardation. The president of the Foundation was Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy and its executive vice president was Eunice Kennedy Shriver. In January, 1968, the Kennedy Foundation sent letters, signed by Mrs. Shriver, to governors in numerous states, encouraging them to enact laws requiring measles vaccination prior to entering school. Interestingly, a Kennedy Foundation consultant, Dr. James Bowes, also worked for Pitman-Moore, the first manufacturer of the measles vaccine. In 1968, most states had marginally enforced school requirements. But with the push of the Kennedy's , requirements were in place and enforced in all 50 states by 1981. That translates into giving 56 doses of 16 different vaccines by the time children are 10 years of age. (REFERENCE: "State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in the 20th Century," by James Colgrove. pg 176-7.)
Pre-teens and teens need several additional vaccines to be protected from potential disease. Then during the next 20 years, the number of recommended vaccines could triple. Yet, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control found that only 60.1 percent of 13 - 17 year olds are up to date on the Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis vaccinations.
Many concerned parents feel that judges, school officials and the health department administrators are nothing more than agents for big pharmaceutical companies.
School administrators, judges and healthcare officials feel they are protecting the children with mandatory vaccinations but Lorraine Tillman, a mother of two believes "if the school and county health officials are really concerned for the child's well being, why are they giving birth control pills to girls as young as 11, which encourages more promiscuity that leads to abortion not to mention hundreds of sexually transmitted diseases. Sex outside the institution of marriage, that leads to abortion and creates unwanted children is a lot more dangerous than not having a vaccination," said Tillman.
As these Maryland students prepare to return to school, their parents made sure they were equipped with all the school supplies -- books, backpacks, pens and paper -- needed for a successful school year. Their parents probably shopped for these essentials at stores over the weekend or at night.
"Unfortunately they didn't have the same flexibility and convenience with getting their children immunized as they did with getting their back-to-school supplies because vaccinations aren't always available during the convenient night-time back-to-school shopping sales," said Jane Martin, school teacher from a township in northern New Jersey.
"They [the administrators] have us teaching sex education, handing out condoms, contraceptives for girls as young as 11 without parental consent, providing a lunch program, and other non-education activities. Now we're supposed to provide healthcare treatment in our schools," complains Martin, who holds two Masters degrees in Education.
Martin and other teachers believe forced vaccinations are a prime example of government intrusion in the lives of American families, but they fear voicing their reservations would result in loss of their jobs.
"The push for vaccinations is completely out of control. Mandates and requirements are passed by uninformed and under-educated State legislators who are sold a bill of goods by smiling pharmaceutical lobbyists pedaling their poisons," warned respected physician and lecturer Dr. Sherri Tenpenny during a telephone interview with NewsWithViews.com.
"Parents do not have an opportunity to vote on the necessity of mandates; they are shoved down their throats. They pay taxes to get their children into schools. Then they are required to inject their children with substances that could maim or kill them in order to be in compliance," she warned.
Dr. Tenpenny believes the vaccines that are being required in Prince George's County -- chickenpox, a totally benign disease and hepatitis B, a disease of drug-using homosexual adults -- are not necessary for the health of these children.
"Do parents know what is in these vaccines? The chickenpox vaccine is made from aborted fetal cells and contains sucrose, hydrolyzed gelatin, salt, MSG (0.5 mg), sodium phosphate dibasic, potassium phosphate monobasic, potassium chloride, trace EDTA, neomycin and serum from cows. The hepatitis b vaccines contains aluminum and yeast," she added.
During her interview with NewsWithView.com, Dr. Tenpenny said she believes that the parents of these children need to band together and revolt.
"Protest, march in the street, pay the fine and spend the time in jail on principle alone. When will this stop? When will we wake up and JUST SAY NO to mandatory injections?" she rhetorically asked.
"Those shots that are forced on the children contain addatives and preservatives that could have harmful side effects. Who's going to pay for the doctor visits, hospital stays, or years of pain and suffering that those shots could cause? Not the schools, the judges, the county health officials, nor the vaccine manufacturers, because they are all immune from prosecution. The truth is, the parents and the effected child will, that's who," said Lorraine Tillman, a mother with two children.
NewsWithViews.com attempted to interview the Prince George's County Executive, Jack B. Johnson. We provided him with Dr. Tenpenny's allegations and comments, but Mr. Johnson did not respond to NWV's questions.
Some parents are wondering if the name "Prince George's County" is still owned by the British crown and the children are their subjects, and the judges are the crown's enforcers.
When certain officials were asked who's going to foot the bill for any side effects, they would not comment on record. But off the record, on the assurance they would remain anonymous, officials admitted that parents are paying the price. What the officials fail to tell parents is that they can opt-out for several reasons. One being on religious grounds.
Frustrated with the system, parents are removing their children from the public schools in record numbers around the country and home schooling them, rather than taking chances of endangering their children.
To voice your opinion contact Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson at (301) 952-4131 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information contact Dr. Sherri Tenpenny at 440-239-1878. Her website is: www.DrTenpenny.com, email is: email@example.com