This story was submitted by Olivia Hudok:
Hi, my name is Olivia Hudok. I’m 17 years old, and I have just been banned from school.
Until today, I was a senior at Pickens School, where I have been attending since third grade. I have been a 4.0 student throughout high school and am currently taking two college classes at Davis & Elkins College this year.
I received two memos last Friday. One from the Randolph-Elkins Health Department stating that I must be refused admission to Pickens School because I had not shown proof of the two vaccines required by law for school entry to 12th grade. The other memo was from County Superintendent Dr. Phares, threatening physical removal for trespass at the high school today if I came, due to vaccination non-compliance.
Yes, I have failed to become vaccinated, and I do not plan to concede just because the DHHR has mandated it. Vaccinations should be voluntary. There are medical, philosophical, and religious reasons that demand an individual’s right to decide.
I believe these vaccinations are wrong in numerous ways. For one, the presence of toxic ingredients makes their safety extremely questionable, and the Bible tells me to keep my body, mind, and spirit pure. I Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
There is also a legal objection. My attorney believes that what the health department claims is law, in fact, is not law at all. The DHHR failed to get legislative approval for their new vaccination requirements as prescribed by the law.
How can I, or any student, be excluded from public education solely by the administrative decision by non-elected officials? Chapter 16 of the WV Constitution does provide for preventing enrollment but does not provide for expulsion for vaccination non-compliance. Hopefully the legislature will pass an immunization religious freedom act in the upcoming legislative session so that people like me with religious convictions have a law protecting them. A religious freedom act would protect the responsibility of parents to make decisions in raising their children, as they are entrusted by God.
Dr. Phares has been helpful by keeping our family informed of this developing situation. He made sure that I would not be counted truant while being excluded from Pickens School. My parents and I made the decision that it would be best not to attempt to attend school this morning. It is unnecessary to force the actions prescribed by the Randolph-Elkins Health Department and would only disrupt the education process at Pickens School.
We consider Pickens School a family, and I greatly hope to continue my education and activities there. It is my intention to return to school and finish as a member of Pickens School’s Class of 2013. I hope that the school system will do the right thing and not bar me because of vaccines.