March 10, 2021
Contact: Jackie Schlegel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OPINION
Last summer, Texans For Vaccine Choice was concerned that Texas’ vaccine exemption laws could be undermined by school districts who sought to exclude children with vaccine exemptions during an epidemic. In anticipation of the potential for school districts to incorrectly apply current state vaccine exemption law during the COVID-19 outbreak, TFVC contacted Texas House Chairman James White, who promptly asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to issue an Attorney General’s Opinion.
TFVC’s objective was to seek clarity from the Texas Attorney General’s Office that would close the door on school districts’ ability to enforce a de-facto vaccine mandate on Texas children.
In an opinion issued on March 5, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton concluded that Texas public schools may not exclude students who lack vaccinations when such vaccinations are unrelated to the epidemic. Paxton reasoned that provisions in state law that allow a school to exclude unvaccinated students during an epidemic only apply to those students who have not received a vaccine related to the epidemic. Because no COVID-19 vaccine is currently approved by the FDA for use by children under the age of 16, nor has it gone through the process to be added to the list of vaccines required for school enrollment, the issue of whether a student is vaccinated is irrelevant to the COVID-19 epidemic. Paxton further concluded that to exclude unvaccinated students at this time could violate students’ religious liberties enshrined in the US and Texas Constitutions and state law.
Texans for Vaccine Choice is pleased with the result of this opinion, and applauds Attorney General Paxton’s commitment to protect parental rights and religious liberties. While this opinion is a win for personal liberty and medical privacy, Texans for Vaccine Choice will continue to closely monitor this issue and update concerned families as more information becomes available.
Read the full opinion here: