There is an “out” for Californian parents and children dreading the July 2016 implementation of the state’s recently adopted Senate Bill 277 — draconian legislation eliminating exemptions to child vaccination mandates. That out is homeschooling, and many Californian parents are spending this year exploring homeschooling and preparing for a homeschooling future.
While children attending government and private schools, as well as other entities including daycares, in the state will be mandated starting next summer to submit to a state-set vaccination schedule with virtually all exemption means eliminated, the new law does not apply to children in homeschool.
Californian father Davis Fairon says in a KGO-TV news story that the vaccination mandate is a threat to freedom. States Fairon, “we’re not allowed to think for ourselves; we’ve got to do what the government tells us to do.” Fairon and his wife have decided to homeschool and not to vaccinate their baby according the state’s vaccination schedule.
Other parents in California will make the same decision. Anita Chabria provided in a Guardian article last week a window into some of the ways the state vaccination mandates are pushing California parents to opt for homeschooling. In her article, Chabria tells the stories of two mothers who are taking, or considering, the homeschooling leap because of their desire to protect their children from dangers related to the California state government’s vaccination mandates:
Lyn Elliott, a mother of a 20-month-old girl, says she is taking a serious look at home schooling because of the law. While her daughter Rebel is 'mostly vaccinated,' there are certain shots she feels are unnecessary 'and that I feel have risks.'Homeschool supporters across America have often been effective in defending a homeschooling zone of liberty. Indeed, fear of taking on homeschool defenders appears to be a reason the California government has chosen not to subject homeschool children to the new law.
Next summer she will have to face the choice of giving vaccinations she does not want, or lose access to daycare – where some of the vaccine requirements will also apply. A single parent after her husband died in a motorcycle accident, she says home schooling could mean a critical drop in her income, but it’s a move she feels compelled to make.
'For myself and my personal situation, school was something I was somewhat looking forward to,' she says. 'I think it would actually be more beneficial for [Rebel] to be in public school but I am not willing to take that risk or let them make that decision for me just to make my life easier.'
Nicole Arango, a 34-year-old mother of two, said she faced a similar choice and decided to move forward with home schooling now.
She recently moved from Oxnard, California, to Simi Valley with her son, Ryan, 13, and daughter, Juliet, 6. Because Ryan had an adverse vaccine reaction when he was young, Arango has chosen not to vaccinate further. Rather than put them in school in their new town for a year and have to pull them out when the law goes into effect, she is beginning home schooling this fall.
'I was already kind of on the fence about home schooling anyway but the vaccine law really pushed me over because that’s not something I’m going to have shoved down my throat,' she said. 'I feel like I have no other alternative.'
But, homeschooling families and their supporters becoming complacent could allow local, state, or national governments to impose new mandates — regarding vaccination or any of numerous other matters — on homeschooling families. Indeed, there is an organized effort to subject homeschooling to a multitude of authoritarian “reforms” in all states. Such reforms include government registration of homeschools, background checking of homeschool parents, standardized testing and portfolio reviewing of homeschool students, random home visits and additional testing for “flagged” homeschool families, and the same medical requirements (including vaccination mandates) for homeschool students as for students in government schools.
In other words, the effort is underway to obliterate all the freedom from government mandates that homeschooling offers and to even use homeschooling regulations as a means to create additional government intrusions into families and homes.
Can homeschooling families and their allies repel the “reform” onslaught and even remove some of the current government restrictions on homeschooling? For the sake of liberty, let us hope the answer is “yes.”
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