A Northern Kentucky student is suing the local health department after being told he can’t participate in senior sports due to a lack of chickenpox vaccine.
Jerome Kunkel’s lawsuit includes Northern Kentucky Health Department and its employees. The health department banished kids who haven’t been vaccinated from participating in any sports. The school is experiencing a chickenpox outbreak, which is what prompted the health department’s decision. Kunkel, 18, is a Christian whose family is against vaccines for religious purposes.
“I don’t believe in that vaccine at all and they are trying to push it on us,” Bill Kunkle, Jerome’s father, said, according to NBC affiliate WLWT.
The policy at the center of the lawsuit was put in place on Feb. 21. School officials sent a letter to parents on the same date. But the school began warning parents to vaccinate earlier in the month.
The Northern Kentucky Health Department responded to Kunkel’s lawsuit with the following statement.
“The recent actions taken by the Northern Kentucky Health Department regarding the chickenpox outbreak at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy was in direct response to a public health threat and was an appropriate and necessary response to prevent further spread of this contagious illness,” the health department said in a statement.
Further, the school canceled all sporting events for the next 21 days.
“The fact that I can’t finish my senior year in basketball, like, our last couple of games, it’s pretty devastating. I mean, you go through four years of high school playing basketball, you look forward to your senior year,” Kunkle told WLWT.