Barrett votes to protect parent choice on student masks, COVID-19 vaccines

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Tom Barrett on Tuesday joined Senate Republicans in passing legislation to affirm Michigan parents’ rights to choose whether their children wear face masks at school or receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The bills were passed less than a week after the Biden Administration announced its intention to administer shots to children aged 5-11 at their schools.

“Time and time again we have seen parents stepping up on behalf of their own kids only to have a government official, board or agency intrude on them and stand in their way,” said Barrett, R-Charlotte. “This is precisely why we need legislation that protects parents’ rights. These bills clearly draw a line in the sand that these government bodies cannot cross – a line that says government cannot stand in the way of parents doing what they think is right for their children in this situation.”

Senate Bill 600 would prevent Michigan school districts from requiring vaccines that have been authorized under emergency use or an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination for students to attend school or members of the public to attend school board meetings.

SB 601 would allow students to receive a waiver from wearing a face mask at school and prohibit schools from testing asymptomatic students for COVID-19 infection to ride a school bus or enter a school building.

SB 602, sponsored by Barrett, would similarly prohibit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services from requiring students to receive a vaccine that has only been authorized under emergency use or an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination, from wearing a face mask and from being tested for COVID-19 if asymptomatic to enter a school, ride a bus or participate in school activities.

SB 603 would prohibit local health departments from requiring students to receive a vaccine that has only been authorized under emergency use or an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination, from wearing a face mask and from being tested for COVID-19 if asymptomatic to enter a school, ride a bus or participate in school activities. It would also prevent them from requiring individuals from the same to attend school board meetings.

The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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