As a retired educator of many years, including principal of two elementary schools in Maine, I witnessed firsthand what it meant to allow parents to refuse to have their children immunized against certain communicable diseases, claiming religious and philosophical differences.

School nurses all over Maine have dealt with this issue for years, since it is usually their job to track down parents who continued to say they would get to the doctor’s office, only they never get there. It meant our school and our staff being exposed to illnesses such as whooping cough, measles and chickenpox.

When we allow religious and philosophical differences to impact our students and staff, we are also impacting some seriously medically fragile students and staff members to exposure, thus placing them at even greater medical risk. The only reason acceptable for not obtaining the immunizations should be for physician-indicated medical issues and not religious, philosophical or personal excuses.

When you vote on this March 3 ballot question, remember that our schoolchildren and staff members attend school even while being treated for some life-threatening illnesses like cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes, among others.

It’s time for the recently passed law to go into effect in September 2021 as planned. It can’t come soon enough for our children. Don’t be misled by the “Big Pharma” road signs. Vote “no” on Question 1 and protect all our students and school employees.

Donna Beeley

Scarborough

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