A cadre of New York lawmakers want to eliminate religious exemptions to vaccinations before a state-wide measles outbreak subsides, with one upstate senator claiming the political will to ax the exemption hinges on fears stoked by the epidemic that’s overwhelmingly affected unvaccinated Brooklynites (“Crisis of faith: State pols want to eliminate religious exemptions to vaccination before measles outbreak subsides” by Colin Mixson, online May 29).
“The fear is we lose this opportunity,” said Sen. David Carlucci, who represents Rockland County, which is combating its own measles outbreak. “As we lose the outbreak right now, there’s a sense of security that’s just not real. We’ve seen how vulnerable we are, and we need to say New Yorkers are at risk, we need to take action, and we can’t wait for session to be over, because then it will be too late.”
The state’s religious exemption allows unvaccinated children to attend public schools, where students would otherwise require a more stringent medical exemption to enroll without inoculations.
At the press conference, a group of cancer survivors — all students — suffering severely compromised immune systems joined the politicians, who spoke out about the extraordinary care they must take to avoid disease and infection, saying that sharing a classroom with an unvaccinated classmate could lead to the end of their lives.
Readers shared their thoughts online:
Leave my religion out of this! It’s not a religious thing. It’s an insanity thing. Parents who don’t vaccinate their children should be locked up. Prison or a mental institution.
Avi from Kensington
There never should have been a religious exemption to begin with. If these wackos want to put their kids in danger, they can homeschool them. Let’s do away with church tax exemptions next. I’m sick of paying for these people.Bob from Queens
An untenable belief in a magical sky-daddy, supernatural beings, Quetzalcoatl, the Fairy Folk, your precious animal spirit, or Xenu, is never enough reason to put the public in real tangible danger.
Jim from Cobble Hill
Vaccination should be mandatory for all, unless a medical reason (comprised immunity due to cancer for example) makes it impossible. Just like seatbelt laws for cars, they are so important for public safety that there should be no choice in the matter.
Beverly from Bay Ridge
Calling for cameras
Before departing on a presidential campaign swing through Nevada, Mayor Bill de Blasio took care of some city business on May 24, announcing plans for the rapid expansion of the school zone speed camera program which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law earlier this month (“Mayor announces rapid expansion of life-saving speed camera program as stronger law takes effect July 11” by Bill Parry, online May 29).
The city’s Department of Transportation will begin installing new cameras citywide at a rate of 40 per month through 2019, 60 per month in 2020, expecting to reach the law’s maximum 750 school zones by June 2020.
“Our streets are about to get a lot safer for our children,” de Blasio said. “We fought to expand our speed camera program and we won in Albany. Now it’s time to rapidly scale up our program to save lives and keep our kids safe.”
Authorized by state law, the school zone speed camera program had been in place since 2014 with data showing that speeding in areas with cameras declines more than 60 percent, with more than 80 percent of violators not receiving a second ticket.
Readers were divided online:
What nonsense. Is there an epidemic of kids being mowed down in front of schools? Another tax on the middle class. Keep voting for these commies and this is what you get!LaQwerty Jones
from Liberty Island
Great news! Hey, suck it up, snowflakes. Don’t break the laws if you can’t pay the fines.Henry Ford
from Bay Ridge
Is the camera going to jump off the pole in front of a speeding car and stop an accident? If not, the only thing they can do is report what happened after the fact. That’s not “life saving.”Bethany
To LaQwerty Jones, The public elementary school three blocks from my home has had five students hit by speeding cars since January while in the intersection with the green light and holding their parent’s hand. All ended up in ambulances and at least two days in a hospital. To Bethany, if drivers know they will receive a summons, they will think twice about speeding near a school. This will prevent injuries by reckless drivers who just don’t care.Susan Rosenfeld from Sheepshead Bay
It would be best to design the streets so that drivers can’t or don’t want to break the law, but cameras that issue a ticket for drivers who break the law by 40 percent are better than the old system.Mike from Williamsburg
Now stop sign and red light cameras in Bay Ridge, please. Dozens of them.John from Bay Ridge
If you don’t want a ticket, don’t break the law and drive over the speed limit, run red lights, or drive recklessly. No, you’re not “too cool” for the rules to be different for you. Why is this so hard to understand? Traffic fatalities are up 30 percent from last year (actual DOT numbers) and people who might just be a bit injured end up dead because the car was going way faster than it should have been going.Jim from Cobble Hill
If the city really wants to crack down on dangerous drivers, it would put red light cameras at both ends of the Brooklyn Bridge. Pretty much every cycle someone goes through a solid red light. Or must we wait until somebody is killed? There is a police car sitting at Tillary, but those cops seem to be for show only.Pedestrian from Downtown Brooklyn
Times have changed
To the Editor,
I agree very strongly with Rochelle Goldman’s letter, “Fur-Free New York,” in the Bay News, May 24–30, and am thrilled that New York may soon become fur-free! There is no need in today’s modern world with its abundance of synthetic, man-made materials for any animal to be tortured and killed for its fur or leather. Cave men may have needed fur coats to keep themselves warm — we do not!
I am glad that some high-fashion clothing designers have already ditched fur. I hope that others will soon join them. People who have the money to buy fur or leather coats just for show can show off their fortunes in many more worthwhile ways rather than having animals destroyed. Many very rich people, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, have used their money to found and fund charities that help needy humans and animals. Many celebrities have given up their fur coats and joined societies that protect animals. I wish all celebrities would do so. Nobody needs a fur coat to show off his or her wealth, talent, or intelligence!
I also would like to add that hunting jungle animals for sport or for trophies is also wrong and cruel. A lion’s head looks much better on the lion than on somebody’s wall.
Those of us living here in the modern world should be very happy that we don’t have to kill animals in order to survive. We can live on fruits and vegetables should we choose to, and the only thing we ever need to take to a park, zoo or jungle is a camera. Animals should be enjoyed, loved, admired and cared-for, not abused or experimented on or killed. Elaine Kirsch
To the Editor,
A terrible tragedy has struck the NYC school system. An honor roll student, who started skipping classes as she was bullied, committed suicide yesterday. Parents are now claiming that the school did nothing. The guidance counselor there promised action but nothing was done. Ditto for other administrative staff as well.
We may also thank the de Blasio administration for this event due to its permissiveness regarding discipline in the schools. It is becoming virtually impossible to suspend unruly students. The problem is that we have people running the schools who barely taught and have no understanding whatsoever of the rigors of classroom teaching.
The media must get involved and come to the schools unannounced to see what is really going on. The public is being fed lies that everything is fine. This is not the case. Save our schools by instilling discipline!