On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Board of Education voted to rescind its Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all employees. The mandate had been in place since August 2021.
The policy rescission came in response to a lawsuit challenging the school district’s vaccine mandate represents a huge victory for the plaintiffs, who include Health Freedom Defense Fund (HFDF), California Educators for Medical Freedom (CAEMF) and several other named plaintiffs.
In what can only be described as anti-science zealotry, LAUSD maintained its irrational injection mandate more than two years after the CDC issued guidance in July 2021 stating that Covid-19 injections do not protect against transmission or infection of Covid.
To the delight of the plaintiffs and the thousand or so LAUSD employees they represent, the mandate is now gone—due entirely to the lawsuit challenging its legality and rationality.
Soni Lloyd, one of CAEMF’s leaders, said,
I am glad LAUSD finally decided to respect medical choice. But a reasonable institution would have never done this in the first place. So many lives upended, including my own, for a drug they should have known was neither safe nor effective. At the very least, an honest academic would have observed enough doubt to compel them not to mandate this. Now we want LAUSD to make everyone who was impacted whole with back pay and the right to return to their jobs. And we will fight so this never happens again.
As HFDF noted in a recent update, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals skewered Connie Michaels, the attorney for LAUSD, during oral argument on September 14, 2023. One of the judges on the Ninth Circuit Court panel of three judges said he was “shocked” and “floored” by LAUSD’s continuing mandate. He suggested that, even in an emergency, any argument for a mandate wanes over time.
When Michaels attempted to justify the mandate by arguing that it pertains to employment, another one of the judges asked, “Does it matter whether the vaccine stops transmission? What is the argument?” Later, he declared LAUSD’s policy “irrational” in light of the known fact that the Covid injections do not stop infection.
As the judges continued their questioning of Michaels and listened to her absurd defense that the court should give the state (LAUSD) the right to decide to mandate an injection even twenty years into the future absent any emergency, it was clear the proceedings were not going in LAUSD’s favor.
After court was adjourned, a frustrated Michaels sniped at the plaintiffs’ attorney, John Howard, as they entered the gallery, “What are you going to do when they rescind the mandate?”
In that moment, Michaels unwittingly revealed an ugly truth:
- She and her bosses at LAUSD don’t care about the thousand-plus employees who, in violation of their constitutionally protected rights, have been fired or displaced by their employer’s unscientific, unjustifiable, irrational mandate.
- They don’t care that those teachers—many of whom have given decades to the school district and to their students— have not been paid in over 15 months, have lost all their benefits, or have been forced into retirement.
- They don’t care about heeding science and logic.
- They don’t care about the employees’ right to privacy and to bodily autonomy.
Instead, they appear to care only about granting excessive power to the state to force unwanted medical interventions on employees.
LAUSD teacher Yvette Price described the devastating effect the school district’s mandate had on her this way:
The shock and disbelief I felt when the district was enforcing the vaccine mandate turned to the fear of possibly losing my job! When I was fortunate to keep my job by teaching virtually, the feeling of being segregated, discriminated, humiliated and abandoned emerged! I felt, as many of us did, completely alone. The worst blow of all was when we realized our union did not support us in any way!
After court adjourned, attorney Michaels likely reported to her client, LAUSD, that the hearing did not tilt in their favor and that LAUSD should consider rescinding its Covid injection mandate.
Thus, almost two weeks later—that is, today, Tuesday, September 26, 2023—LAUSD’s Board of Education voted 6-to-1 to rescind the mandate.
This is a huge victory for all the plaintiffs, for common sense, and for freedom.
LAUSD has contended that Jacobson v. Massachusetts, a lawsuit decided by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in 1905, confers authority to the state to mandate vaccines. But the circumstances surrounding the Jacobson case were completely different from the so-called Covid pandemic.
For one thing, Jacobson applied to an extreme emergency—namely, an outbreak of smallpox, which had a death rate of 30% to 40%. Also, the smallpox vaccine was believed to confer immunity. Moreover, no one’s employment was predicated on submitting to the vaccine. Rather, Pastor Henning Jacobson, who had had a bad reaction to earlier vaccination, was simply fined $5 for refusing to comply with the Cambridge, Massachusetts, public health mandate. Finally, natural immunity was not an issue in that era. As we know, none of those facts can be applied to Covid.
In short, Jacobson has been wildly misconstrued to enable massive overreach by government, business, and educational institutions—an overreach never anticipated, let alone sanctioned, by the Supreme Court in Jacobson.
Moreover, decades of case law since the 1950s are at odds with Jacobson. SCOTUS has ruled that each of us possesses a zone of privacy around us into which the state may not intrude (Griswold v. Connecticut), that we have the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment (Washington v. Harper), and that we have the right to refuse lifesaving medical treatment (Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health), among other decisions.
This Jacobson case was decided in an era when women could not vote or own property, when Jim Crow laws were in effect, and when Carrie Buck was forced to be sterilized. Thus, the Jacobson ruling must be consigned to the past—and the Ninth Circuit Court was the perfect opportunity to do so.
That said, now that LAUSD has finally rescinded the Covid injection mandate, what will it do next? Will LAUSD seek dismissal of the case, arguing that it is now moot?
If the school district does make that move, it would represent a cynical ploy to evade judicial review of the mandate. Plaintiffs are confident that the court would see through this maneuver. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that LAUSD rescinded a Covid injection mandate in order to evade review.
In fact, LAUSD deployed the very same tactics in the plaintiffs’ first case against LAUSD, when the school district illegally mandated the Emergency Use Authorized injections in March 2021. In order to have that case dismissed, LAUSD represented to the court that the school district did not have an employee vaccine mandate and was not intending to implement one. But, just 17 days after the court took LAUSD at its word and dismissed the case, LAUSD reversed its position and issued a mandate.
The plaintiffs believe the court won’t fall for the same tactic again. But, just in case, they are prepared for the next phase of their efforts to pursue justice against LAUSD.