San Diego student wins religious rights injunction for district’s COVID vaccine mandate

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A public school student in the San Diego Unified School District won a religious rights case in an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an injunction regarding the districts’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate school.

Thomas More Society attorneys last week filed an emergency appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a religious rights lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of a Scripps High School student athlete Ranch vs. San Diego Unified School District over its COVID-19 vaccine warrant.

Lawyers have requested an emergency injunction in the case by November 29, 2021, when the student must receive the first dose of Pfizer vaccine in order to comply with the SDUSD deadline to be “fully vaccinated.” Before classes in 2022, Thomas More Society mentioned. The Ninth Circuit issued an information program and ordered the SDUSD to file a response by November 23.

The San Diego Unified School District does not offer religious exemptions from the mandate – only medical exemptions, and Jonna noted, “as well as many other exemptions for preferred categories of students.”

School district policy allows unvaccinated medically exempt students to attend school in person and participate in school sports. And teachers can get religious exemptions and teach in person.

“We are very pleased that the Ninth Circuit has granted the rare remedy of an emergency injunction pending appeal, which prevents the San Diego Unified School District (” SDUSD “) vaccine mandate – one of the toughest in the nation – since its commissioning on November 29, 2021 ”, said Paul Jonna, Special Advisor and Partner of Thomas More Society, LiMandri & Jonna LLP.

“The full court ruling will follow shortly, but the Ninth Circuit panel focused on postponing ‘per se’ for pregnant students – allowing them to postpone vaccination for 9 months, even if their own.” “SDUSD’s medical experts recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated against COVID-19,” Jonna said.

The appeal was filed after the United States District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed the student’s family’s request for a temporary restraining order and canceled a hearing that had been scheduled for 19 November 2021.

Lawyer Jonna explains:

“Although the case is still in its early stages, it is a significant victory. SDUSD should quickly revise its policy to include religious exemptions for students. Otherwise, we are confident that we will fully defend the rights of our clients either in the Ninth Circuit or in the United States Supreme Court, if necessary. As Justice Ikuta rightly observes: “Any unvaccinated student attending in-person lessons poses the same risk to the school district’s interest in ensuring a safe school environment” as students seeking religious exemptions, which are prohibited at the school door. Under the free exercise clause, SDUSD cannot treat students any better if they request exemption from vaccination for secular rather than religious reasons. The COVID regime of secular favorites but religious outcasts must end. There is no vaccine exception to the free exercise clause. Until this truth becomes the law of the land, the battle for religious freedom against state-imposed vaccination – while exempt secular people are given a pass – will not be over. “

San Diego Unified has been providing free COVID vaccines to students and staff since early November. Some would say they pushed the vaccines: “The CDC’s latest vaccine recommendation means the vast majority of students in kindergarten through high school are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, signaling a major step towards preventing the disease. spread of the virus in our community and across the country, ”says the SDUSD website.

“San Diego Unified offers new opportunities for students, staff, families and community members to receive free COVID-19 vaccines in district schools to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and maintain a healthy environment. safe learning, ”the district website says. . “From this week until December, a Vaccine Van operated by UC San Diego Health will be making stops in the district. All vaccines are available at the mobile unit, including boosters, vaccines for adults, and vaccines for children aged five to 18.

You can read the order of the ninth circuit here, and there is more to come:

9-circuit-decision-for-injunction


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