Vaccines, School Mandates, and California's Right to Education
63 UCLA Law Review. Discourse 98 (2015, Forthcoming)
22 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2015 Last revised: 9 Sep 2015
Date Written: August 21, 2015
California recently enacted Senate Bill 277, which abolishes the personal-beliefs exemption to school immunization requirements. One possible challenge to the law’s constitutionality is that it impermissibly limits the right to education. This Essay rebuts such positions. California’s jurisprudence regarding access to education applies to protected categories; it does not limit the ability of the state to impose health and safety regulations such as immunization requirements. Moreover, the requirement would withstand even strict scrutiny, if applied, because disease prevention in the school context is a compelling interest and there is no alternative that is as effective. Finally, the law actually protects the right of access to education for those whose parents do not have the luxury of choice, such as immune-compromised children, while still reasonably preserving parental choice overall.
Keywords: vaccines, education, constitutional rights, California
JEL Classification: I18, I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation