Take Action on DoH Abuse of Authority in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
From our friends at PEACH, Parents Educating & Advocating for Children's Health
Since March, the incidence of chickenpox in Williamsburg has been higher than the normal background incidence for most years.
Mind you, chickenpox is NOT a killer disease!! What kills children are the antipyretics doctors use to suppress chickenpox symptoms.
Whether you believe such illnesses stem from transmission of microbial pathogens, or are born from within, there remains one safe "treatment":
Yet DoH is using this outbreak as an opportunity to force Jewish school principals to (illegally) refuse all religious exemptions.
Principals are also being told not to allow religiously exempt students back into class after the outbreak ends.
Attorney Giulia Miller wrote a letter on behalf of parents, dated May 17th, to DoH detailing how DoH is exceeding its authority.
You may access the letter at this link: http://www.mediafire.com/download/l8tn880p7j51yie/Complaint+Letter+to+DoH.pdf
In her letter, she makes reference to two written communiques from DoH:
Letter from DoH
Fax from DoH
On May 18, 2016, DoH held a secret meeting exclusively with Jewish school principals urging them to (illegally) refuse all religious exemptions.
You may download the 75 minute audio of that meeting at:
If you don't have internet access, you can hear this secret meeting via phone: call 718-506-9057, wait for the advertisement to end, then press 641126#
ACTIONS TO TAKE:
1. Write a letter to your Principal:
Dear Principal _____________,
Please see attached a copy of a letter from Attorney Miller to DoH, and 2 letters from DoH to Schools.
In the May 18th meeting, you were totally misinformed by DoH, claiming that the law disallows exemptions for Jews citing the Jewish religion.
PHL 2164, as amended in 1989, reads that ANYONE may interpret scripture as inconsistent with their religion, even if some rabbis disagree.
By law, you must fairly review religious exemption applications, and the reasonable interpretations parents cite.
By law, you cannot arbitrarily and capriciously rescind exemptions you had previously granted
By law, you cannot force an exempt child to remain excluded from school once the outbreak has concluded.
By law, you have the sole authority to grant religious exemptions, despite objections or quibbling from DoH.
If you follow misleading advice from DoH, now that you know it to be false, you leave yourself open to tort liability.
Please follow the law as Attorney Miller states it in her letter. Health officials who lie to you will be taken to task.
Respectfully Submitted, __________________
The DoH is informing Jewish school principals in Williamsburg to deny "Jewish religious exemptions" or else face $2,000 per day fines.
Please see attached a copy of my letter to my school principal, plus correspondence from Attorney Miller to DoH describing how DoH memos are misstating the law.
See also two written communiques from DoH to schools, misstating the law, plus hear audio of a meeting that DoH held exclusively with Jewish principals.
That meeting----held on May 18th at 18 Middleton Street----was led by Jane R. Zucker, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Immunization and was secretly recorded:
Dr. Zucker's main message to the principals of Williamsburg, which is a violation of law, was that they must stop giving out exemptions in their schools! Excerpts in chronological order:
At the 7:19 mark on the recording, Dr. Zucker says, "Yeshivas have religious exemptions, which I think many are philosophic exemptions, if I may say." Saying also that "we have to stop some of these false exemptions." So says an official, whom by law, must defer to the principal's determination on religious exemptions! So says the official who can levy fines on principals who might disagree with her!
DOH WAS NEVER VESTED WITH THE POWER TO APPROVE OR DENY RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION APPLICATIONS. THAT AUTHORITY LIES SOLELY WITH SCHOOLS.
At the 22:40 mark, one female principal identifies herself and the head start program she runs, and tells Dr. Zucker that one family with an unvaccinated child who's excluded because she admits to being "strict" and justifies it, saying "there is no such thing as an exemption." Dr. Zucker doesn't correct that principal's misconception, to tell her she has a duty to be fair and impartial.
Beginning at the 23:35 mark (see quote below), you have Dr. Zucker completely misstating the law, by (1) encouraging principals to deny religious waivers, and alleging that to allow them would be legally questionable, (2) alleging that there are "no valid Jewish religious exemptions", because the law doesn't allow it.
That's a complete falsehood! Dr. Zucker is grossly overstepping the Establishment Clause, which is why the prior statute was struck down in 1987! Neither government, nor even religious schools acting on behalf of government, shall take theological positions in an ongoing dispute within a religious institution! Rabbis and Jews may debate this issue, but government shall not validate either side, by way of law. Each Jew has the First Amendment right to reasonably interpret Judaic law, AND TO ACT UPON THAT INTERPRETATION.
See, Sherr and Levy vs. Northport East-Northport Union Free School district, 672 F.Supp. 81, (E.D.N.Y. 1987)
EXACT QUOTE FROM ZUCKER
“The law says that you can request a religious exemption. The law does not say that you have to ACCEPT a religious exemption. So in view of what the parent submitted and said in conversation, if it's determined that it's not really based in Jewish law----and there is no valid Jewish religious exemptions----so, and we've had this conversation before, that if anyone is asking for a religious exemption at Yeshivas, I would question what the real basis is for that, because the law does not allow Jewish religious exemptions. And for many of these exemptions are [sic], you know, are philosophical exemptions, and everyone is within their right to deny those exemptions.”
At the 35:25 mark, DoH reminds principals there are $2000 a day fines for not excluding unvaccinated students, unless the school calls on DoH for help in going through the school's medical records.
At the 103:00 mark, one female principal suggests that all the Jewish schools must CONSPIRE to refuse all exemption applications, unaware that she's suggesting a gross violation of law. And why should she know that? Dr. Zucker replied to her, "I think that's a good recommendation." (!):
“Can I say something? I think it's a 2-piece solution. It's probably "A" that all the schools get together, and all the schools together refuse religious exemptions. It can't be just one school saying we don't take them, because if one school takes it then they (parents) will threaten to pull out and go to a different school. So that's "A". "B" is educating the beast. I think the community really needs to be educated, and the people should feel like they're making choices for their children, and should make the smart choice. Is there something we can do about that?”
In case any of the principals didn't understand Dr. Zucker's ILLEGAL advice, a couple of minutes later she concluded the meeting by summing it up this way, at the 1:05:45 mark: "You know, I think in following up, I think we believe, on the school side, we need everyone to buy in on stopping the religious exemptions." And then she goes on to tell the principals how to go about it.
Throughout the recording, Dr. Zucker and principals were contemptuous of vaccination awareness organizations who advise caution of mega-dosing infants with vaccines. Zucker and these sympathetic principals also repeated frequently that they must "educate" parents. In other words, education runs solely in one direction: Principals to parents. Just like adults to children. Thus, parents are equivalent to children, and make no mistake, they're TREATED like children by many Jewish school officials.
All of the above shows how DoH is abusing its authority and violating its own administrative codes in several ways, with the result of denying religious liberties and parental rights.
As a result, my rights are being abridged through DoH falsehoods----not by law and regulations which are being ignored.
Please inform the DoH Commissioner to take corrective action, and to reprimand Dr. Zucker, and to discontinue its unlawful pressure on Jewish school principals to violate my religious liberty.
In addition to your own legislators, everyone must send a copy of your complaint to:
NYS Member of the Assembly
250 Broadway, Suite 2232
New York, NY 10007
He chairs the Assembly health committee.