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A San Diego COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students is struck down by the Court in a final decision on the merits

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A court recognizes an unauthorized power grab – we need more of that.

By Aaron Siri

The San Diego Unified School District took it upon itself to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for students.  In-person school for certain ages was conditioned upon receipt of this vaccine.  Those who chose to decline the vaccine would be automatically forced into an “independent study program” with no in-person learning as of January 2022. 

Because school districts do not have the authority to mandate a vaccine not already required by the state legislature, we filed an ICAN-funded lawsuit on behalf of a San Diego student and their family to challenge the mandate.  We, along with counsel for Let Them Choose which also challenged the mandate on behalf of another petitioner, asked the Court to strike down the mandate and, this week, the Court did just that.  You can read the papers below.

In a long-awaited victory by those seeking to retain the right to informed consent and medical decision-making free from coercion, the Court found that it was “compelled” to invalidate the mandate as the school district had no authority to implement or enforce such a requirement.

The Court held, in a tentative ruling issued prior to oral argument and confirmed afterwards, that:

The sole function of this Court is to determine whether the [mandate] is preempted by state law.  SDUSD’s [mandate] appears to be necessary and rational, and the district’s desire to protect its students from COVID-19 is commendable. Unfortunately, the field of school vaccine mandates has been fully occupied by the State, and the [mandate] directly conflicts with state law. The addition of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate without a personal belief exemption must be imposed by the Legislature. Accordingly, this Court is compelled to GRANT the petitions for writ of mandate.

This is the true role of the Courts: to assess the facts and the law and to make a determination based on only those facts and the relevant law.  No other outside influences.  Even if a Court “believes” something is necessary, rational, well-intentioned, or commendable, it still must do what it is compelled to do: follow the law.  This role has been seemingly absent or forgotten over the past year when it comes to vaccine mandates, and so it is encouraging to see things working as they were intended.  

The basis for this decision, that school boards in California do not have the authority to require a COVID-19 vaccine, would apply to all school boards across California that are seeking to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine.  We are prepared to file lawsuits against any other school board in California that seeks to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine. Congratulations to all the parents in San Diego, California and beyond who no longer need to inject their children with a liability-free, novel medical product in order for their child to attend school. 

For those interested in the details, our opening brief can be found here, the Defendant’s opposition brief can be found here, and our reply brief can be found here.  


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