According to the Maine Human Rights Commission, the Maine Human Rights Act prohibits educational discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, national origin and physical or mental disability. Because schools are also places of public accommodation (places where services are offered to the general public), schools also cannot discriminate on the basis of color, ancestry or religion. It is illegal to deny education to children with mental or physical disabilities. Children with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and cancer are currently attending public schools because they all have the right to an education in the state of Maine.

But now, thanks to legislation signed by Gov. Mills last May that eliminates the religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccine requirements, it is now legal to discriminate against countless healthy children because of fear of contagion. These are not sick or ill children with communicable diseases. These are perfectly healthy children being denied an education based solely on the possibility that these children could maybe, one day, possibly be contagious with an illness because they are missing one, some or all doses of vaccines required for school. These children will be denied the right to any education in Maine, public or private, daycare through graduate school.

This obvious discrimination, rooted in irrational fear, is the reason I will be supporting “Yes on 1” on March 3 so that every child can have access to education in our great state of Maine.

Heather Connolly


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