High school student pulled out of class as NY’s immunization law takes effect

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LYNDONVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – A high school freshman from Orleans County says she was pulled out of school Wednesday because of her failure receive all vaccinations required by state law to attend class.

This is a direct effect of a new state law, which is going into effect this fall.

“I’m going to be missing out on so many opportunities,” said Grace Russo, who went to Lyndonville Central School.

Grace’s mom, Kim Russo, provided News 4 with an audio recording she says was taken as Grace was taken out of class.

“By law, we are not allowed to have you here,” an administrator can be heard saying. “And I’m so sorry about that. You’re such a good student. You love school and you have so many friends. We all love you here.”

Earlier this year, the state legislature repealed all religious exceptions for vaccinations required for children in schools. Previously, those exemptions allowed people like Russo to attend class without those vaccinations. The legislature’s move came as a measles outbreak struck the Empire State.

Her mom says she is now being pulled out because she has not received the Meningococcal and Tdap vaccines.

“Every citizens has a basic right to a public education,” Kim said. “If they want to do something this drastic that goes against such a big right, they should make provisions for those kids.”

Lyndonville school superintendent Jason Smith said health and privacy laws prohibited him from commenting directly on Grace’s case.

“Per New York State law, students have 14 days from the beginning of the school year to comply with new immunization requirements,” Smith said.

Kim says she’s considering homeschooling Grace, but that might not be a viable option because of work.

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