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Kentucky Teen Sues School Over Chicken Pox Vaccine Requirement, Promptly Gets Chicken Pox

The discussions around vaccinations is getting heated, with some calling out family members, and families trying to defy science.

A student in Kentucky tried to sue his state’s health department. His suit was unsuccessful and now the original point has become irrelevant.

Jerome Kunkel is a student at the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Assumption Academy. Nearly 90 percent of the catholic school has a religious exemption against vaccinations.

So when dozens of cases of chicken pox broke out, the state health department put in place an order to prevent people not immune to the disease from attending school or extracurriculars to stem the tide of the outbreak.

Back in February, the health department warned parents about an outbreak of chicken pox. By mid-March, more than 30 cases of chicken pox had broken out.

Kunkel felt this amounted to religious discrimination and tried to sue the health department and his school for following the order.

Kunkel and his family oppose the vaccination on religious grounds. The chicken pox vaccine is one of several that some ultraconservative Catholics refuse to take.

The vaccines have their origins in cells taken from a fetus that was effectively aborted decades ago.

While the Catholic Church has stated that these cell lines are far enough removed from their source, and the public good provided is enough to morally validate the choice to be vaccinated, some people choose to not vaccinate anyway.

Kunkel’s suit was unsuccessful.

Despite the teen really wanting to play basketball, the judge sided with the health department.

Kunkel said:

“I’m definitely devastated by the judge’s ruling. It doesn’t seem logical to me,”

He intended to appeal the decision, his lawyer agreeing that the health department had been too restrictive in their response.

Chris Wiest, Kunkel’s attorney said:

“We don’t believe the health department met its burden.”

“They had the burden to prove that they used the least restrictive means possible to further a compelling governmental interest. There’s been no proof of that.”

They prepared to file their appeal.

And then Kunkel got chicken pox.

Kunkel is still going through the disease, but hopes to be back in class soon.

He told local news station, WLWT:

“Thing are somewhat normal except … for homework I got to catch up with,”

Kunkel’s lawyer commented on the inefficacy of the ban.

He said:

“The ban was stupid. He could have contracted this in March and been back to school by now,”

This is an incredibly dangerous mentality.

While many might be fine getting chicken pox and becoming immune to it that way, the disease itself is dangerous for infants, pregnant women, and the elderly.

State health officials spoke on this as well.

“Encouraging the spread of an acute infection disease in a community demonstrates a callous disregard for the health and safety of friends, family, neighbors and unsuspecting members of the general public.”

Much like the judge, the internet also sides with the state health department.

The argument surrounding vaccinations has become almost impossible to avoid in this day and age. As the antivaxx movement has gained steam, public researchers and medical professionals have tried to reassure the public.

While vaccines do possess side effects, the public good they provide far outweighs them. Millions of deaths are prevented every year thanks to vaccines.


Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.