In recent years, more and more parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children because of the belief that some vaccines -- particularly the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine -- may cause autism or other developmental impairments. Although countless studies have proven this belief to be unfounded, many parents are still refusing to vaccinate their children before sending them to school.
Although the personal beliefs exemption does allow California parents to do this for medical, religious and/or philosophical reasons, many other parents as well as the state consider this choice to be a threat to public health. That's why our state's legislature is currently pushing for the approval of a bill that would do away with the exemption and require vaccination of all students attending public schools.
This piece of legislation has not come without contention though. Set firmly in their beliefs, anti-vaccine parents are now threatening to withdraw their children from public schools across the state if the legislation passes. According to one CBS report on the issue, this could cost schools districts approximately $6,000 a student in funding.
Parents planning on withdrawing their children from public schools are considering home schooling options in order to maintain their perceived rights regarding vaccination. But as the president of the California Association of School Boards explains, many parents may not be prepared for the responsibility that comes with a decision like this. Parents may not even know that they will be held to the same set of state education laws that private schools must follow in our state.
Just like private schools, home schooling parents will need to file an affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction and will also need to make sure that they are capable of teaching the many subject areas required in public schools. If this is not done, then a student may not be considered exempt from state truancy laws under the Education Code. Both parents and students alike could face serious legal problems because of this, requiring the help of an attorney well-versed in our state's education laws.
Sources: CBS Sacramento, "Parents Threaten To Pull Kids Out Of School If California Vaccine Bill Passes," Derek Shore, April 14, 2015
The California Department of Education, "Private Schools Frequently Asked Questions," Accessed April 15, 2015