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Students in NKy private school appeal to state Supreme Court a ruling on chicken pox vaccine

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A group of students from a private Northern Kentucky school is seeking to have the Kentucky Supreme Court overturn a lower court ruling that upheld banning unvaccinated students from school.

The case involved a chicken pox outbreak earlier this year at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy, a Catholic school in Walton.

The students objected to the chicken pox vaccine because it was reportedly laboratory-grown from cells descended from a fetus aborted in London in 1966.

Eighty-two percent of the students or their parents had signed a religious exemption from vaccination form with the state for that reason. 

It should be noted the Vatican allows use of the vaccine, but the community of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Walton, which runs the two schools, belongs to the Society of St. Pius X, known as a conservative Roman Catholic sect that supports conducting masses in Latin and rejects changes made to church policy made during the 1960s by Vatican II.

After an outbreak began in January, the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District banned non-vaccinated students from extra-curricular activities in February.

After a lawsuit was filed against the health department action and the disease outbreak spread further, the students were also prevented from attending classes.

Boone Circuit Judge James Schrand ruled against the students’ lawsuit in April, saying the health department acted within its authority to control disease.

In April, the students’ attorneys appealed to the State Court of Appeals, asking to prevent the circuit court ruling from taking effect.

A three-judge Appellate panel unanimously rejected the motion last week, and that ruling has now been appealed to the Supreme Court, seeking the same thing from the Justices, known in legal circles as a motion for interlocutory relief.

There is no word on when the high court will take up the matter.

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