No segregation in our schools

No segregation in our schools

141 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
Petition to
westwood regional school district and

Why this petition matters

Dear Ms.Mortimer and Board of Education Members, 

As stakeholders in our community, we write this letter expressing our discontentment and sincere concern with the new provisions outlined under the TTS protocol that is to be implemented in our schools on February 7th, 2022. 

Per the email sent to families by Ms.Mortimer, “When masks are removed from eating/drinking at lunch in the cafe/gym, it is imperative all un-vaccinated learners should be separated by at least 6 feet from all other learners. The un-vaccinated learners will likely be sitting at tables, possibly themselves in the “un-vaccinated section” of the cafe/gymatorium. Please know this means your child may be able to be identified as being unvaccinated, as not all children are spaced six-feet apart while eating.” 

As parents and community members, we are appalled that our children are being grouped and segregated into vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. Segregating our students based on their vaccination status is unlawful, as this directly violates the rights of our children under HIPAA. Our students should not be identified by their vaccination status and seated in segregated groups in the cafeteria, for all (Staff, cafeteria workers, peers) to see. Our children's medical history and vaccination status should not be shared or publicly displayed. Although they are children, they are still people in this country and their rights matter and deserve to be respected. Please be advised that a complaint will be filed with the NJDOH, NJDOE and the U.S Department of Health Information Privacy. 

One can also argue that such segregation can also fall under the parameters of HIB, and as such we can not be bystanders. “"Harassment, intimidation or bullying" means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic.” NJ Rev Stat § 18A:37-14 (2013). This would apply to having children segregated, and having parents seemingly harassed or intimidated into vaccinating their children so that they will not be segregated. 

In addition to the direct violation of policy, please take a moment to envision a kindergarten student who is being told he/she has to sit “possibly by themselves” alone at lunch. Based solely on the fact of their vaccination status. A status that a kindergartner does not understand, but he/she does understand that she/he is not allowed to sit with their friends during the time when they should be laughing and taking a break from learning. Now the child is isolated, and seemingly “being punished” in their mind. In a time period when our children are in difficult times due to the stresses of the current world around us, it is our job to alleviate stress for our children, not cause it.

Please be advised, this segregation is not only argued for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated, but the same argument is also made for students with medical allergies. No child should be segregated for any reason in our schools. It is not acceptable by any means and for any reason. 

Regardless of if you are vaccinated or not against COVID-19, you can still get and transmit the virus. We are not writing to argue on whether or not to vaccinate your child, that is an incredibly personal choice for a parent. However, that is our right as parents to make. Our children should not be sitting in the cafeteria discussing the vaccination status of their peers. Our children should be laughing at jokes, discussing a book they have read or simply enjoying looking at the smiling faces of their peers. 

We implore you to make the right decision and not segregate our children. 

141 have signed. Let’s get to 200!