Spokane Valley City Council explores parental rights ordinance for vaccinations

Spokane Valley City Council explores parental rights ordinance for vaccinations

The vaccination debate took center Tuesday night at the Spokane Valley city council meeting.

For a couple of weeks now, several of the City of Spokane Valley council members have been talking about possibly putting together an ordinance on parental rights.

Should parents who don’t vaccinate or can’t vaccinate their children be allowed to keep their kids in school when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease? That’s the crux of the draft at hand for those council members.

Right now students without the proper vaccines are removed from school during an outbreak, which is state law. More than a couple parents Tuesday night encouraged the council to move forward on creating an ordinance.

“I have a gut intuition as a mother that trumps an education,” said Jaclyn Gallion, a supporter of parental rights. “I know what’s best for my child and I know my child better than anyone else.”

Supporters of the parental rights ordinance said their children shouldn’t be punished by missing class for not having vaccinations. One of the moms told KXLY off camera that she believes it’s less risky to keep her kids in school during an infectious disease outbreak than to get her children vaccinated.

Schools don’t require students to get vaccinated but they must have an exemption, acknowledging they understand the ramifications if they don’t. School districts work closely with the regional health district to formulate the best plan of action when dealing with infectious diseases.

“Overwhelmingly, vaccines have been identified as one of the great public health accomplishments over the last century,” said Dr. Bob Lutz of the Spokane Regional Health District.

The Spokane Regional Health District argued during public comment that proposing a declaration or ordinance such as this would take away from the health district’s message that vaccines work and eradicate infectious diseases.

There are other issues tied into the discussion on parent rights, but if the City of Spokane Valley does draft an ordinance and it is approved, that ordinance would be going against state law.