A Los Angeles Superior Court judge, Mitchell Beckloff, has ruled in favor of the father of a 12-year-old student who challenged the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD's) COVID-19 vaccine mandate, finding it clashes with state law.
The father, known as G.F., filed the case Oct. 8 on behalf of himself and his son, a Science Academy STEM Magnet school student.
G.F. maintained the state, and not the LAUSD, is authorized to issue vaccination mandates and the requirement that unvaccinated pupils attend independent learning classes outside campus violates the state Education Code, Fox 11 reported.
The judge noted in his ruling that if the son remains unvaccinated, he will be forced to leave the academy under the mandate and be subjected to a different curriculum. Beckloff said that although the California Board of Education's authority is "great," it is not unlimited.
The judge found that the student vaccine resolution conflicts with state law and clashes with the state health and safety code by not allowing exemptions for personal beliefs.
The father argued that the vaccine could irreparably harm his son, who has already contracted and recovered from the coronavirus and may have strong natural immunity, Fox 11 reported.
"Further, I worry that vaccinating him could prove even more dangerous now that he has had COVID-19," G.F. said. "Among other things, I fear that the vaccination could overexcite his immune system and antibodies."
His son has received all other required childhood immunizations, according to his father.
In their court papers, LAUSD lawyers maintained that the court relief sought by G.F. and his son "fails on every conceivable level" and should have been denied.
According to the Los Angeles Times: "The ruling, however, has no immediate effect within the LA Unified School District, because the district in May postponed its mandate until at least July 2023. LAUSD was the first of the nation’s largest school systems to institute a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students, and despite the delay, school board members were resolute in defending it against lawsuits."
The LAUSD is the largest public school system in California and the second-largest public school district in the United States. Only the New York City Department of Education has a larger student population.
The Los Angeles Times noted that the ruling by Beckloff represented a significant win for Let Them Breathe, a California-based group that opposes vaccine and mask mandates.
"Judge Beckloff’s ruling confirms that individual school districts do not have the authority to impose local vaccination requirements in excess of statewide requirements," said Arie L. Spangler, a member of the legal team that pursued the case. "We are very pleased with the ruling, as it ensures that no child will be forced out of the classroom due to their COVID-19 vaccination status."
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