Marin County Parents Want Students at Public Schools Vaccinated to Protect Son From Measles

A Marin County family is asking their children's school to keep kids home that haven't been vaccinated.

Carl and Jodi Krawitt's 6-year-old son, Rhett, has been battling leukemia, and for him catching measles could be very serious.

Rhett is a first-grade student at Reed Elementary and is unable to be immunized due to his cancer therapy and his immune system not strong enough. His parents want every other child to be immunized, and so far 54 students out of 1,500 kids in the district have refused either for medical or personal belief reasons.

"For public schools why can't it be a requirement unless it's a medical exemption?" Jodi Krawitt said.

Carl Krawitt raised the issue at a school meeting earlier this year when parents were told not to bring nut products to school because of allergies.

"My husband got up and said, 'That's great. We get it, but what about asking parents to immunize their children before coming to school because it's a similar issue -- it's a health risk,'" Jodi Krawitt said.

The school said it would not be possible because California law allows parents to claim a personal belief exemption. Rhett's oncologist said those parents do not understand the risk.

"People should be educated and understand when they don't have their children vaccinated it doesn't just affect their child, it affects many other children," said Robert Goldsby, an oncologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Goldsby adds cancer patients like Rhett are at a significantly higher risk.

"Not only would they be at higher risk for a more severe form of illness from measles for example, but it would also likely delay their therapy," Goldsby said.

The superintendent of the Reed Union School District said he understands the problem, but also recognizes the California law that gives parents the right to opt out of vaccinations for personal reasons.

This year there is a new law requiring families who opt out to consult with a medical professional. The Krawitt's goal is to get that law removed for public schools.

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