Vaccine Mandates Aren’t Cost-Free

Kids are getting caught in the crossfire of the fight over COVID shots.

WaPo (“Hundreds of people are fired, online learning set to return amid vaccine resistance at nation’s second-largest school district“):

The second-largest school district in the United States is facing mounting woes over its coronavirus vaccine mandate, recently terminating hundreds of employees who refused to comply and vowing to put thousands of unvaccinated students into online classes.

Board members of Los Angeles Unified School District — which has one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the nation — voted Tuesday to terminate 496 employees whofailed to get vaccinated ahead of the deadline.

“We care deeply about all of our employees,” interim superintendent Megan K. Reilly said in a statement following the board’s decision. “Parting ways with individuals who choose not to be vaccinated is an extremely difficult, but necessary decision to ensure the safety of all in our school communities.”

In addition, some 34,000 students are also in violation of the requirements, according to the Los Angeles Times. Per the district’s vaccination policy, students 12 and older must be fully vaccinated — or receive an exemption — by the start of the second semester in January. Those who fail to do so will not be allowed on school campuses and will be referred to an online independent study program.

I’ve been on board with vaccine mandates since I first heard of the idea in March and have written several additional posts since then backing the idea. For them to have any teeth requires hard measures like firing recalcitrant public employees—even in the midst of shortages of people willing to work.

I will not shed a single tear for the teachers and other adults facing consequences for their actions. We’ve required vaccines for students and faculty members attending public school for a very long time.

But in just this one school district—albeit, granted, the largest in the country—we’re also punishing 34,000 students, some of them 12-year-olds, for decisions they didn’t make but rather were imposed on them by their parents. We’re not going to take them from their parents or vaccinate them over the wishes of their parents. This isn’t Soviet Russia or Communist China. So, instead, we’re sentencing them to as many as six more years of online school, which we already know is both exponentially worse academically and socially for the vast majority of students. This is a harsh price to pay, indeed, for the sin of having morons for parents.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    Children who don’t get MMR vaccines are also banned from public schools. Should we get rid of those mandates as well?

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  2. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Exactly.

    What’s worth keeping in mind is there are people everywhere, even children, with immune system issues who cannot get vaccinated, or who don’t develop good protection from a vaccine. They didn’t choose their circumstances, either, and they shouldn’t be exposed to others who can give them a disease they may not survive.

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  3. Hal_10000 says:

    I agree with your points, but let me note something: the LA unified school district has 50,000 employees (a figure conspicuously absent in the linked article). This is literally 1% of the workforce being fired because of mandates. I’m getting little sick and tired of this BS of saying “hundreds of employees fired!” and failing to note that 99% complied: either through getting vaxed, having a legitimate medical exemption or agreeing to regularly testing. 80% of adults have had at least one shot and 70% are fully vaccinated.

    Maybe … we give that minority of holdouts a little less attention?

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  4. wr says:

    So, um… can anyone here name one thing that’s worth doing that actually is “cost-free”?

    I’m not sure how anyone who has been alive more than eight years who could write a post with a headline like this.

    Everything has a cost. What defines us as individuals is how we decide what is worth which cost.

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  5. Gustopher says:

    But in just this one school district—albeit, granted, the largest in the country—we’re also punishing 34,000 students, some of them 12-year-olds, for decisions they didn’t make but rather were imposed on them by their parents. We’re not going to take them from their parents or vaccinate them over the wishes of their parents. This isn’t Soviet Russia or Communist China. So, instead, we’re sentencing them to as many as six more years of online school, which we already know is both exponentially worse academically and socially for the vast majority of students. This is a harsh price to pay, indeed, for the sin of having morons for parents.

    Just think about the kids whose parents couldn’t afford to live in a good part of town with better school districts.

    Anyway, I expect most of these kids will get vaccinated in short order when the parents get tired of having a surly teenager around the house at all hours.

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