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News10NBC Investigates: Judge orders child back to school after he was banned over vaccines

Berkeley Brean
Updated: January 31, 2020 06:17 PM
Created: January 31, 2020 03:52 PM

PENN YANN, N.Y. (WHEC) — We have an update on a story that we have been investigating for you since the start of the school year. 

New York State Supreme Court Judge Dan Doyle signed an order Thursday ordering a boy named Thorn Schwartz back to school at Monroe One BOCES in Fairport. Schwartz, who lives in Penn Yann and has severe autism, was banned from his school on Sept. 18, 2019, because the school doctor denied his medical exemption from vaccines under the emergency regulations set by the New York State Department of Health in August 2019.

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Thorn Schwartz had been attending school for three years with a medical exemption. 

According to the lawyer for Schwartz's parents, Thorn Schwartz returns to school Monday. 

In the order, Judge Doyle wrote Monroe One BOCES is "directed to re-admit TS as soon as practicable." Doyle also ordered Monroe One BOCES, "shall ensure as soon as practicable that TS receives all services he was receiving prior to his exclusion from school."

Last June, in the middle of a measles outbreak scare, New York State lawmakers repealed the religious exemption on vaccines.

In August, the state health department—without a vote—enacted emergency regulations on medical exemptions.

It says doctors will have to fill out a new "medical exemption form" and "outline specific justifications for each required vaccine."

In a statement Friday, the health department says while it, "does not comment on pending litigation, we stand by the importance of the regulatory amendments which strengthen and clarify the process by which physicians can grant medical exemptions to vaccination requirements."

Attorney Patti Finn says Thorn Schwartz is the first student in New York State to ordered back to school in a case like this. 

"And I'm hoping Thorn is the first of many others to get back in school,"' Finn said.

In a statement, Monroe One BOCES spokeswomen Stephanie Robusto wrote, "Monroe One BOCES will comply with the temporary order issued by the Court. We will also continue to follow the law and guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health." 

Finn says there are 200 children in the state just like Thorn. 

Judge Doyle had an opportunity to put a temporary restraining order on the state's regulations. He crossed that part out of the order out. But he set a hearing three weeks from today to argue the case. 


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