The San Diego Unified School District Board of Trustees has been barred from ever implementing the discriminatory vaccine mandate it passed in September 2021. Thomas More Society attorneys moved on March 6, 2023, to dismiss a federal lawsuit in which they represented students and families unlawfully treated with prejudice by the school district because of their religious beliefs. The federal lawsuit, explained Paul Jonna, Thomas More Society Special Counsel and partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP, can now be dismissed following a final determination by the California Supreme Court affirming lower state court decisions that the mandate was unconstitutional and illegal.

Jonna explained how, in September 2021, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Trustees passed a requirement that all students over the age of 16 must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend classes in person. The board expressly stated that no students with religious objections to a COVID-19 vaccination would be accommodated.

Thomas More Society attorneys filed a federal lawsuit in October 2021 on behalf of a Scripps Ranch High School student athlete and her parents, and the case grew to include several student families within the school district.

As a result of strong pushback that the school district received about the blatantly discriminatory COVID-19 vaccination mandate, the board repeatedly delayed the mandate enforcement date. Due to this “pause” in implementing the unconstitutional policy, both the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court declined to grant emergency judicial relief to the students and families. However, 11 of the judges on the Ninth Circuit issued dissents to that prudential refusal, making it clear that that they understood that the San Diego Unified School District Board’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate was unconstitutional.

On February 22, 2023, the California Supreme Court affirmed lower court decisions, making clear that the San Diego Unified School District may never lift the pause it had placed on its COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

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