The Home School Court Report
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May / June 2003

A season to encourage

Burnt toast & sticky cards

A letter to my parents

The spiritual power of a mother
National Center hosts 2003 Summit
Farris addresses social workers

Along the way

Homeschool litigation: preparing the way
Freedom Watch

What's ahead in 2003?
From the heart
Across the states
Active Cases
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About Campus
President's page

Good judges make good decisions


Prayer & Praise

a contrario sensu (on the other hand)

HSLDA legal contacts for November/December 2002



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Immunization exemptions

On March 31, 2003, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Senate Bill 434 creating personal exemptions to immunizations for children attending daycare and kindergarten through grade 12 and college applicants. Children in daycare facilities or kindergarten through grade 12 are eligible for an exemption from immunizations if they conflict with the religious or philosophical beliefs of their parents or guardians. Parents or guardians must submit annually to the Arkansas Department of Health a signed, notarized statement giving the basis of their objection to the immunizations. College applicants must annually submit a signed, notarized statement to the college that the immunizations conflict with their religious or philosophical beliefs.

On July 25, 2002, a federal court in Arkansas ruled that the religious exemption of Arkansas' immunization statute was unconstitutional. The court found that the statute was unconstitutional in requiring a person claiming a religious exemption to be an adherent or member of a recognized church or religious denomination whose religious tenants and practices conflicted with the immunization requirement. As written, the law violated the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Constitutional principles of religious freedom require that an exemption from the immunization statute be based upon a person's individual religious beliefs, not those of a church or denomination. The court's ruling only applied to the religious exemption language of the statute, leaving the immunization requirements intact.

With the enactment of the recent legislation, Arkansas now has exemptions to immunizations that are not only fair, but also constitutional.

Dewitt T. Black