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Lankford, Cruz, Blackburn Push to Combat COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Students in DC Schools

WASHINGTON, DC  – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today introduced a bill that will protect students in Washington, DC public schools from the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) also joined them.

The DC school vaccine mandate would prohibit unvaccinated schoolkids from 12 to 15 years of age from attending school in person. The mandate is particularly harmful to black students, who are vaccinated at a lower rate than other students. DC’s vaccine mandate comes on the heels of two years of school shutdowns and remote learning—which led to substantial learning loss, particularly for students who were already struggling in school. If the DC vaccine mandate is enforced, many DC students may fall even further behind in school.

“No family should be forced to choose between the health of their child and their child’s education,” said Lankford. “This not the early days of COVID, the vast majority of individuals have not only recovered from COVID, they have recovered from COVID multiple times. Parents should make health and education decisions for their children.” 

“DC public schools are blatantly discriminating against black students in our nation’s capital,” said Cruz. “The rate of vaccination for black students between the ages of 12 and 15 in Washington, D.C. is 60 percent – far lower than the city average. D.C. schools has already postponed enforcement of this racist policy until 2023 and they should simply scrap it. Until they do, I will fight for the students of D.C. and work to end this mandate.”

“Right now, any news organization worth its subscription fee is running story after story with evidence that the left’s forever pandemic is destroying the mental and emotional well-being of children,” said Blackburn. “Yet somehow, right here in our nation’s capital, leaders are depriving students of a basic education if they don’t comply with the District’s highly-politicized vaccine mandate. Getting vaccinated should be a decision between a patient, parent, and doctor – not politicians pressured by big teachers’ unions and radical activists.”

Lankford is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee which has jurisdiction of the Washington, DC. Lankford has lead efforts to protect Americans from sweeping vaccine mandates, including members of the military. Last week he sent a letter to the Department of Defense calling for immediate action on deplorable living conditions for service members with religious objections to the vaccine. Lankford also introduced the Stop Vaccine Mandates Act to repeal President Biden’s Executive Order that mandated vaccines for federal employees and federal contractors. 

He joined Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and 12 of their colleagues to introduce the Allowing Military Exemptions, Recognizing Individual Concerns About New Shots (AMERICANS) Act of 2022, and he introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act to prohibit the Department of Defense from giving service members a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, which was ultimately solidified in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which Lankford supported and was signed into law.