CHARLESTON – A woman is suing the Mingo County Board of Education, Mingo schools Superintendent Dwight Dials and the state Department of Health and Human Resources, saying the defendants are violating her religious rights by requiring her to get her daughter vaccinated.

Jennifer Workman filed the lawsuit April 1 in federal court on behalf of her 6-year-old daughter, whom is being refused admittance into kindergarten in Lenore because she hasn't been immunized.

Workman has also applied for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against the defendants.

Workman said another of her daughters has suffered detrimental health effects from immunizations and her religion prevents her from potentially harming her 6-year-old by getting her vaccinated.

"I sincerely believe that it is wrong to immunize, and it is a sacrilege," Workman stated in an affidavit. "My religious beliefs prohibit me from submitting to any immunizations."

Workman is a member of the Bapticostal Church, Victory Christian.

Workman says she refused to have her 6-year-old immunized because she believes that her other daughter, who is 13, has suffered sleep disorders and behavioral problems which Workman believes coincided with the vaccinations she began receiving when she was 2 years old.

Dr. John McCallum, a child psychiatrist, gave the 6-year-old a permanent exemption from the immunizations on Sept. 4, 2007, which Workman says is acceptable under state law. McCallum's recommendation was based on the older child's medical situation, the complaint says.

The 6-year-old, identified in the complaint as M.W., began attend Pre-K in Lenore in 2007, but was then not allowed to attend the school anymore after State Health Officer Dr. Catherine G. Slemp denied the exemption in October 2007, saying immunizations would be best for M.W. and the rest of the students at the school.

M.W., after being denied admittance to the Pre-K, attended the Head Start program in Williamson, the complaint says. But following the end of the 2007-2008 school year, she was too old to attend that program and has since been home-schooled, like her older sibling.

Federal court case number: 2:09-cv-0325




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