Anti-Vaxxers Threatening To Homeschool Their Unvaccinated Kids Don’t Get How Threats Work

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Demand For Measles Vaccine Increases As Outbreak Started At Disneyland In California SpreadsAnti-vaxxers in California are threatening to take their balls and go home–and by ‘balls’, I mean children. During hearings on the state’s proposed law, SB 277, which would require children to be vaccinated before they can attend public school, families who oppose the bill are threatening to remove their kids from the school system and home-school them instead. Let it be entered into the congressional hearing record: “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”

According to the San Jose Mercury News, these anti-vaxxer parents seem to think they’re dealing a death blow to SB 277 by hitting school districts directly in the wallet. In California, as in most states, districts receive money from the state per pupil enrolled. And these families seem to think the way to a school district’s heart is through its financial status:

“This next hearing is going to be a key one for us because of the financial stakes,” said Shtein, 34, who said her 5-year-old son was diagnosed with autism after receiving a vaccine as a baby.

Let’s take a short detour to note the glaring logical fallacy dutifully reported back by the newspaper here: “A thing happened before this other thing, therefore it caused that other thing!” By that logic, I learned to read at age three after getting vaccines as a baby. Vaccines help you learn to read, guys–vaccines for everyone!!

Digression aside: seeing as vaccine refusal is concentrated in high income areas, where the bulk of a school district’s funding comes from the property taxes on that pile of McMansions, this probably won’t deal the devastating financial blow anti-vaxxer parents are intending. In reality, the bill’s purpose is specifically “vaccines or GTFO”. Kids pulled out of public school will miss out on trained teachers, which is more of a challenge with older students than younger ones (good luck teaching your seventeen-year-old calculus, world history, physics, and fourth-year German).

But on the other hand? If they’re being taught in their own home, these unvaccinated kids are much less likely to be sneezed on by another random kid with the measles. And more importantly still, if they’re being homeschooled, they’re not going to be the ones doing the sneezing in the vicinity of kids who did get vaccinated but whose immunity didn’t kick in, of kids whose immune system is too weak for them to get immunized, or of kids whose chemotherapy or other medical situation has robbed them of a healthy immune system. Of course the ideal situation is for kids to just get vaccinated, but any way this works out to decrease the public health menace of schools with soaring rates of vaccine refusal is an acceptable outcome. In other words, this threat dovetails pretty perfectly with the proposed bill’s purpose. Sorry, anti-vaxxers? A for effort, D- for execution. Please see me after class.

(Image: Joe Raedle / Staff / Getty)