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Orchard Park children denied religious exemption back in school; fighting courts over decision

Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 17:49:22-04

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Two Orchard Park students are back to getting an education today after being denied permission to return to their Orchard Park Central District School by a State Supreme Court Judge over vaccinations.

Orchard Park mother Marina Williams sought religious exemption for her vaccinated 13- and 15-year-old daughters. She was denied the religious exemptions.

Williams is a member of the Temple of the Inner Flame Church.

The judge says she failed to properly articulate the nature of her religious exemption on the paperwork.

Her Attorney Frank Housh says the family feels their religious exemption was improperly denied.

We were not told where the girls are attending school, Housh says to protect the family from more public scrutiny.

Attorney's for Orchard Park Central Schools say this all comes down to public safety, and they are pleased with the judge and New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen (NYSED) Elia denying the Williams’ sisters appeals to return to school.

Williams and her attorney plan to evaluate next steps…and this comes as legislators downstate are pushing to ban religious exemptions entirely.

Senator Brad Hoylman said in a statement:

“Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children put the health and safety of every other vulnerable New Yorker at risk.”

He called unvaccinated children in schools a public health crisis.

Housh says the Williams family only wants to use the law as it’s written, and if the law changes, so will their stance on pursuing a religious exemption.