LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A judge Wednesday denied a request for a speedy hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction against the Los Angeles Unified School District's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff said the hearing date will remain Dec. 8 because rescheduling the hearing for next week would give lawyers for the district, as well as the judge himself, insufficient time to review the petitioners' court papers.
The California Chapter of Children's Health Defense as well as a second group, Protection of the Educational Rights of Kids, filed the petition on Oct. 13. About 930 LAUSD parents are members of PERK and another 540 of CHD-CA, according to the petition from the two nonprofit groups.
The mandate requires students 12 years and older, as a condition of continuing their in-person education, to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine by specified dates during the fall term. The petition contends that even with no COVID-19 vaccine requirement in place prior to returning to in-person learning in August, LAUSD students have not experienced severe COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations or death.
Although the primary component of the mandate — the restriction of access to all LAUSD facilities for unvaccinated students — does not take effect until Jan. 10, the resolution adopted Sept. 9 calls for eligible and non-exempt students to receive their first dose by Nov. 21.
Attorney Nicole Pearson, on behalf of the petitioners, told the judge that some unvaccinated students are already being excluded as well as bullied and harassed by teachers.
"Parents are freaking out," Pearson said.
Amanda Spinola, a mother of a freshman male student at Grant High School, said in a sworn declaration that she and her family oppose having her boy, J.S., receive the coronavirus shot.
"We have personal beliefs against this shot and he is a healthy, active child who is not at risk," Spinola said. "He is more at risk of developing adverse effects from the shot. Any possible benefit to J.S. is by far outweighed by the known risks."
Spinola said her son "looked worried and was tearful" when told about the Board of Education's vaccine mandate.
"He was scared, sad and hurt," Spinola said. "He immediately asked why the board did this, if he was going to get kicked off the football team, if he was going to be allowed to go back to school and if he was going to die if he got the shot."
In opposing holding the hearing on the preliminary injunction next week, lawyer Keith Yeomans, on behalf of the LAUSD, told Beckloff that his office needed sufficient time to address the complex issues in the case as well as to interview experts who will provide information in support of the district's position.
Judge Amy Hogue last month denied the petitioners' request for a temporary restraining order.