New Mexico
New Mexico

December 6, 2013

Positive Change to Immunization Waiver Form

Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in New Mexico. He and his wife homeschool their children. Read more >>

This past summer, the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) changed back to an earlier, better version of the form homeschooling parents must file to obtain a waiver of immunization requirements.

Parents who teach their children at home are required to notify the New Mexico Public Education Department of their homeschool program every year. Parents must submit the notice within 30 days of establishing their homeschool program and, for each subsequent year, by April 1.

In addition to the notice, homeschooling parents must also maintain immunization records or an immunization waiver. The waiver may be obtained by submitting to the DOH a Certificate of Religious Exemption Form or a medical exemption signed by a licensed physician attesting that the required immunizations would endanger the life of the child.

A Simple Declaration

The Certificate of Religious Exemption Form includes all the information a parent must submit for the waiver to be granted. Until last year, it simply required parents to state they had religious beliefs that did not permit the immunization of their children.

Last year the DOH changed the form, requiring parents to “state the religious beliefs that prevent your child from receiving vaccines.” After hearing objections from several groups, including Christian Association of Parent Educators-New Mexico and Home School Legal Defense Association, the department changed back the form. Once again the form only requires parents to check a box affirming that their religious beliefs do not permit immunization of their children. Parents do not have to list their specific beliefs.

While a parent’s objection to immunization must be due to his or her religious beliefs in order to obtain a waiver for nonmedical reasons, the DOH does not have the authority to judge individuals’ beliefs. As long as your beliefs are religious in nature, a Certificate of Religious Exemption should be granted to you. If you have any questions, please contact HSLDA at (540) 338-5600 for further information.

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Protect Your Family

If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>