Image: State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Austin and Conroe, March 12 – Noting that “it’s important to establish the strongest framework possible to support our public schools,” State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe, filed House Bill 3726 on Wednesday, March 11, 2021, in the 87th Texas Legislative Session, to repeal the provision in the Texas Education Code which allows public schools to exclude children who do not receive immunizations “in times of emergency or epidemic.” “The problem,” Toth explained in an exclusive interview with The Golden Hammer, “is that the ‘vaccine avoidance factor’ will be over thirty-five percent (35%), even in times of epidemics, so we need to make sure that parents will not have a powerful incentive to pull their children out of public schools.”
Yesterday (Thursday, March 11), Dr. John Zerwas testified before the House Committee on State Affairs and pointed out the enormity of the “vaccine avoidance factor” among parents of schoolchildren. Toth added, “83% of children have returned to the Conroe Independent School District during the COVID-19 concerns, but numbers lower than that would make it difficult for schools to continue operations. It’s important that parents have the choice to decide the medical treatment for their own children and not to place them in a position where they must choose between a public education and the course of medical treatment they desire for their family.”
Under the Texas Education Code and in accordance with an Opinion, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued late last week, public school districts may not exclude children who have not received immunizations, but they may exclude children who have not received the China Virus immunization. Paxton issued his Opinion KP-0359 on Friday, March 5, 2021, which made the distinction between regular immunizations and the China Virus shots during the so-called “pandemic.”
Section 38.001(a) of the Texas Education Code requires every public school student to receive an immunization against diphtheria, rubeola, rubella, mumps, tetanus, and polio. Section 38.001(f), however, provides “(f) A person who has not received the immunizations required by this section for reasons of conscience, including because of the person’s religious beliefs, may be excluded from school in times of emergency or epidemic declared by the commissioner of public health.”
As a result of that language, Paxton ruled that only in times of emergency or epidemic may public schools exclude children who have not received immunizations. Toth wants that exclusion option never to occur in order to maintain strong school attendance.
Ashley Burke, President of We The Parents, a Texas-based parental rights organization, expressed her excitement about Toth’s authorship of the legislation and said, “It’s sad when our Legislature treats parents of schoolchildren with floccinaucinihilipilification. Parents should have every right to make decisions for their children.”
Burke continued, “Representative Toth’s authorship of this important legislation shows his commitment to the liberty of parents to make important choices for their own children. It’s an important freedom which will sustain parental support to send their children to our public school system.”
Toth’s bill in its entirety follows: