My daughter is a talented visual artist who is a junior at a prominent charter school in Santa Fe. On Aug. 17, I received a notification from my daughter’s school that she had been identified as having been in “close contact” with someone at her school who tested positive for COVID-19. It said contact presumably occurred Aug. 10-12, and now my daughter is not allowed to attend classes in person for 10 days from the date of contact. Unless, of course, she is vaccinated against COVID-19. She is not. And she never will be.

So, my daughter and I went to the school and met with the principal and the school head to find out what their plan is to ensure my daughter continues to get the same high-quality education as her classmates who are allowed to go to class in person. They have no plan. And furthermore, they do not intend to make a plan.

Given the current state of the spread of the coronavirus, it is very likely this is going to continue to happen for the foreseeable future. The school’s response is that they don’t care. They. Don’t. Care.

I told the principal and head of school that I understand they have no control over the situation. But they agree with the state’s orders. For them, it is not a problem. They are fine with students (who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine) missing valuable in-person class time. They. Don’t. Care.

From last year, the teachers have screens and cameras still set up in their classrooms for online teaching. No plan at all to turn them on for the students who are being denied an in-person education. Of course we have asked the teachers if they will turn them on, but we haven’t heard back yet. And as we learned last year when all schools went online, that is no substitute for in-person learning.

So, what is a parent who believes in “my body, my choice” to do? If I take my daughter out of this school, where does she go to get a high-quality education that caters to artists? Is there a school in Santa Fe that isn’t following the Public Education Department’s orders? I can’t imagine it. Is there even a private school that isn’t following the same orders? As if I could afford it.

How about home schooling? My daughter is an excellent student. She works hard and is motivated to do well. She makes excellent grades. She belongs in a classroom with real teachers and classmates she enjoys learning with and who enjoy learning with her.

It should be obvious to everyone that what we are witnessing here is medical apartheid. Ostracism of an innocent young person for not conforming. For thinking for herself and making her own decisions for herself. This is sick. And it has to stop.

Devin Kennemore is a biologist, consultant, environmental scientist, small-business owner, husband and father who resides in Santa Fe.

(13) comments

Carl Friedrichs

Devin Kennemore was published in My View view yesterday in the Santa Fe New Mexican. His complaint was that his purposely unvaccinated daughter was kept out of school after a COVID-19 exposure in school. She would have been able to continue in person education if she was vaccinated. He wanted the school district to make sure that she continue to receive the same education as a vaccinated child. He complained “They. Do. Not. Care.“ He described this as “medical apartheid.”

Apartheid was an involuntary segregation based on race. Mr. Kennemore, has chosen, VOLUNTARILY, to not to vaccinate his child. This puts everyone at risk, including his daughter. Vaccination against Covid does not just protect one’s own self, but it also protects the community, including my wife, who is a vaccinated teacher at Santa Fe public schools. She got vaccinated, as have the vast majority of teachers in our school district, in part, so Mr. Kennemore‘s daughter is not exposed to COVID-19. It seems like the one who does not care is Mr. Kennemore.

Lynn Osborne

In your opinion, your daughter “ is an excellent student”, “a talented visual artist”, “belongs in a real classroom with real teachers and classmates she enjoys learning with and who enjoy learning with her”, and “making her own decisions for herself”. If indeed it was your daughter’s choice to “never” be vaccinated against COVID-19, then it is time for your daughter to become more informed about the very real threat she poses to her fellow students, as well as the very real threat she suffers while refusing to be vaccinated. She is not being denied the right to an in person education. She herself is denying her fellow students the right to the most safe, healthy environment in which to learn. I believe that you are coaching her to take this action, and ultimately, she is paying a steep price.

john huber

Curious, that he quotes "my body, my choice" in describing not having his daughter get a vaccine. Hard to believe that she has done a better analysis of virology than the top medical scientists in the world. As I explained to someone the other day, these people finished top in their class at good universities, then went to top medical schools, and most simultaneously got PhD's, and then have been working in field for decades. There are 1000's of these individuals who recommend the vaccine. But I suppose since he got a degree in biology, the knowledge is similar.

More likely, he is forcing the choice.

And if it is her choice, she will need to live, or possibly die from it. If I choose to drive drunk and kill someone, and then have guilt, a massive lawsuit, and jail time, it was a bad choice. I don't think society and schools need to spend a fortune on people making bad choices. My recollection of high school, was that bad choices led to detention. So, he may wish to tell his daughter, that her choice, leads to a lost educational opportunity.

Janet Eduardo

Your daughter (and you) are learning a very valuable lesson: actions have consequences.

And thinking for yourself can be a great thing, as long as you don't think that the world is flat.

Edward Baca

Implicit in sticking to one's convictions or taking a stand on a principle is the distinct possibility of a trade-off or a sacrifice at some point down the line. You can't always have your cake and eat it too. Floyd Cable's op-ed in this same issue of the New Mexican eloquently addresses such arguments: ". . . one's freedoms have limits when how you decide to exercise those freedoms, be it via direct action or a disavowal of your responsibilities as a citizen or public official, endangers the lives and well-being of those who have to share public spaces with you."

Bette Booth

Medical apartheid? Please do Not compare the pain and suffering of millions of South Africans during fifty years of apartheid with your daughter’s situation. Their pain and suffering was caused by the color of their skin – something they were born with – while yours is caused by your choice – something you can either change or live with the repercussions of your decision.

Kristie Zamrazil

I will accept your word that your daughter and you are smart, so I assume you know the rationale behind vaccinations: to protect yourself, to protect you from transmitting the virus to others, to provide one less host for the virus to remain alive and possibly mutate, to eliminate the virus from our community, to ensure beds and health care personnel are available for people who have other serious health issues in addition to Covid. So knowing this, you still cling to the proposition that a vaccine will seriously destroy your "personal right". Well, decisions have consequences, and you are facing yours. I support the school's policy.

Lauren Hunt

Thank you for voicing your clarity on this, as well as your Los Alamos Reporter article on the Covid data in 2020. It is a challenging time for those of us who are educated on the data behind the hype--for both the virus and the vaccine.

According to an article by Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and editor in chief of MedPage Today, "The risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 in kids ages 5 to 17 is 0.3 per million for the week ending July 24, 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also know that the risk of hospitalization after the second vaccine dose due to myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, is about 50 per million in that same age group." So, when we vaccinate our kids, we are thereby exposing them to 150 times the risk of hospitalization from this single known fallout from the vaccine, over what they might face with Covid. This number only reflects the short-term damage, by one obvious outcome of the shot, being done to our children. Time will reveal what other untoward outcomes might result from this mass mandate. If we digest a clear analysis of the true incidence of Covid, there is no justification for this.

Janet Eduardo

This is the same Dr Makary that said "we'll have herd immunity by April". Not the best guy to bet the farm on when your kid's life is on the line, is it?

john huber

The Pandemic has been raging for approximately 75 weeks. So multiply your .3 times that to get a better view of risk. Your analysis looks at one week of issues versus a lifetime. The skin on apples is good, not so much on oranges

You also have no understanding of not being vaccinated. Many of us had chickenpox when young, and now find out that shingles is a distinct possibility, because the virus never went away, same as herpes.

Carl Friedrichs

I read Mr. Kennemore’s article in the Los Alamos Reporter. Since then, Covid deaths in New Mexico have risen by 650%. At that point he was saying Covid wasn’t too bad, it was only about three times worse than the flu. You are cherry picking information about COVID-19. Dr. Makary is clearly in favor of vaccination if you read his Twitter feed. 648,000 people have died from Covid in the United States alone. Go get your shot.

Cheryl Odom

Not vaccinating your child is a selfish act. I suggest homeschooling.

Robert Novak

Parents of unvaccinated kids….They. Don’t. Care. What’s a parent to do?” Get your kid vaccinated, for their well being and the well being of those around them.

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