by: Letisha Bereola, Action News Jax Updated:
A Jacksonville father is taking on the Diocese of St. Augustine in court after he claims his son was expelled from Catholic school for legally opting out of required immunizations.
The father contacted us after an Action News Jax investigation revealed that more than a thousand local children are going to school without required vaccinations to protect against deadly diseases.
Patrick Flynn said that in years past, local Catholic schools have honored several children’s religious exemptions from vaccines. But during the 2014-2015 school year, he claims something changed at Holy Spirit School in Ft. Caroline.
“My son was not welcome back for the first grade, even though he had graduated kindergarten there,” said Flynn.
Flynn said the school told him it no longer accepted his child’s religious exemption.
The Diocese of St. Augustine would not comment on the case because of the pending lawsuit, but it did send us its vaccine policy that states exemptions based on religious beliefs will not be considered in any Catholic school.
Here is an excerpt from the policy:
“There is nothing in Catholic moral teachings that which would hold that the use of vaccines as immoral or sinful … accordingly request for exemptions based on religious beliefs will not be considered in any Catholic schools of this diocese.”
Flynn lost his first case against the church and is appealing the decision. He is awaiting a response on his appeal.
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