The mother of a California school student said on Monday that school officials administrated the COVID-19 vaccine to her son without her knowledge or consent after the officials offered him pizza to keep quiet.
Maribel Duarte, whose 13-year-old son attends the Barack Obama Global Prep Academy in South Los Angeles, told NBC Los Angeles she learned her child had been vaccinated after he recently brought home a vaccine card from school.
Duarte said, “The lady that gave him the shot and signed the paper told my son, ‘Please don’t say anything. I don’t want to get in trouble.'”
According to NBC Los Angeles, Duarte is one of at least two parents accusing the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) of giving their children the vaccine without their consent.
LAUSD recently mandated vaccinations for all students 12 and older but the mandate doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 10. School children who don’t get the vaccine and who do not have an approved exemption would be forced to go back to virtual instruction only.
Duarte said she’s not personally against the vaccine and has vaccinated herself, but her concerns are different for her son, who has some underlying medical conditions.
“He has problems with asthma and allergy problems,” Duarte said.
She said, “It hurt to know he got a shot without my permission, without knowing and without signing any papers for him to get the shot.”
Jennifer Kennedy, an attorney following the two active lawsuits against LAUSD’s vaccine mandate. Both lawsuits are seeking an end to the school district’s mandate.
Kennedy said Duarte’s case is an example of “these grotesque contests and displays of treatment and candy and gifts and favors, raffles and cash prizes inducing the kids to the vaccination.”
Kennedy told NBC Los Angeles that children in California can’t consent to vaccination.
Kennedy also argued the school district does not have the power to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine on its own.
“The LAUSD does not have the power to add a vaccine to the California school schedule,” Kennedy said. “You couldn’t do it if you were a podunk school district and you can’t do it if you’re LAUSD, the second largest district in the nation. You don’t have that legal authority.”
According to NBC Los Angeles, school vaccination programs are administered through the state’s Department of Public Health and new vaccine requirements are added into law by the state legislature. Neither the state legislature or Public Health Department have gone so far as to implement such a mandate.
Kennedy said even without the proper legislative process to require the vaccines for school children, cases like Duarte’s are an example of “pressure and bullying, segregation, discrimination and accidental of kids” without parental consent.