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What About Home Schoolers under SB 276?

What About Home Schoolers under SB 276?

Some people are worried about the effect of SB 276 on home schoolers. Let me allay those fears. The current bill does not mention, nor does it affect home schooling your own children. Meaning, you do not have to vaccinate your children under SB 276, if they are home schooled. (I am not talking about Charter Independant Study Schools, which is adifferent and more complicated question, and one which there might not yet be an answer.)

At least one major blogger (and Larry Cook, I mean you) is worried or predicting that home schoolers are Senator Pan’s next target, either with an amended SB 276 or some other bill.

Here are my 2 cents: I do not see that happening as an amendment to SB 276 for tactical and strategic reasons. Tactically, I think it is too late in the bill’s life to add such a big change. More importantly, on a strategic and constitutional level, it would make a successful constitutional challenge much more likely. It would not be worth the risk, given how far the current version of SB 276 goes to eliminate unvaccinated children from the schools, and achieving that goal would/will be a very big deal for Senator Pan and his supporters.

There is a distinction which the vaccine concerned often forget; the difference between mandatory vaccination to utilize some public benefit (or right) like attending school, (or a person providing health care to the public), versus compelled or forced vaccination, with no opt-out (like the $5.00 fine in Jacobson).

A law requiring vaccination of home school children is compelled vaccination, because all children have to go to school or be home schooled. We are not there yet with compelled/forced vaccination, either with the public or the courts. Not yet anyway, and not in California. That is my opinion anyway.

An easier move would be the idea Senator Pan floated before SB 276, i.e., some kind of children’s bill of rights for vaccine protection, coupled with the state’s power to enforce that right. That would turn every home schooler into a potential child abuse victim. That approach and and compelled vaccination are hard sells, but who knows what the future will bring.

But for now, and in this legislative session, I think the home schooler families have nothing to worry about. I think Senator Pan will keep his eye firmly fixed on his current target, which is the elimination medical exemptions beyond CDC guidelines, and making sure that physicians will be sufficiently disincentivized from trying to circumvent them.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.