Supporting Parental Choice in Catholic School



My children are 3rd generation students of the Diocese of Saint Augustine. My dad, my husband and I, all of our siblings, multiple aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and our two oldest children all received a Catholic education in DOSA, and graduated or attend BKHS.

When my husband (CTK c/o ‘90, BK c/o ‘94) and I (CTK c/o ‘92, BK c/o ‘96) first explored other high school options for our oldest child, my father spoke these words to me: “Bishop Kenny isn’t just an education. It’s a family tradition.” My dad passed away 2 years ago, but not before encouraging me to continue to search for truth and stand up for what is right.

Due to severe vaccine reactions in one of our children, I was forced to dig into vaccines. During my research into the history and development of vaccines, I learned of the 100+ babies that were delivered alive and mutilated to collect the freshest cell sample to use in the testing and manufacturing of vaccines. Due to this immoral and despicable fact, my husband and I will not vaccinate our family any longer.

Our youngest son has a religious exemption on the state approved DH681 form. He is exempt from any current or future vaccines. Because my son holds a vaccine religious exemption, the diocese will not educate my son beyond 6th grade due to him not receiving a booster shot the diocese mandates for 7th grade admission.

Sadly, my youngest son will not be able to continue the “Kenny Family Tradition” that started with my father, Joe Joseph (BK c/o 65) unless there is a change in this unethical and discriminatory policy.

I pray that the Catechismal teachings are honored, and our rights as parents to act in accordance to our conscience are reinstated by the diocese to assist us in attaining eternal life in heaven by honoring the law God inscribed upon our hearts. I ask that the acceptance of all vaccine exemptions be reinstated in our diocese. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and for hearing our concerns. 🙏🏼

Laura Meehan (Jacksonville, 2023-09-13)


This is what I wrote in my petition:

My name is Ashley Ashton. I was raised in a Catholic family and attended Catholic school from Pre-K 3 through 12th grade in Jacksonville. My schooling absolutely gave me an upper hand in future schooling and career, no doubt, and my faith in Christ, which goes without saying. I now have a 3 year old son named Archer. For most of my life, I was uneducated about the dangers of vaccines, but I quickly learned after having a child and him having severe reactions from his infant immunizations. After reporting these injuries to his doctors and realizing that it was falling on deaf ears, I made the executive decision to do what’s best for my son and my family and no longer continue to vaccinate him after his 18 month check up. Not only has my son had no health problems now that we discontinued vaccinating him, I can absolutely tell that mentally and academically, he is more advanced than his peers. Unfortunately, since I am making a choice about the safety of my child by not immunizing him anymore, he is not allowed to receive the valuable Catholic education that I was so privileged to receive. His cousin attends San Juan Del Rio and both children frequently ask why they cannot go to the same school as each other - try explaining that to a toddler. All I ask is that our diocese of St. Augustine accepts religious exemptions for vaccines - you have no idea why someone may choose to no longer or not vaccinate their children at all, and quite frankly, it’s none of the church or school’s business. I really do hope a decision is made to revert this mandate and allow my son to attend Catholic schools for the remainder of his education. He currently attends a Baptist preschool which DOES accept his exemption, but why should I continue to give a Baptist church the money that could go to my own religion and faith? Thank you for your consideration.

Ashley Ashton (St. Johns, 2023-09-13)


I was so fortunate to receive a Catholic education as a child. It helped me develop my values, my character, and my relationship with Christ. It is because of that relationship that my conscience has clearly lead me to avoid immunizations for my children. I am asking for religious exemptions to be considered because I want my children to have the same foundation that I was blessed with. I currently feel forced to choose between following my conscience or sending my child to a secular or Protestant school. My hope is that I can continue to raise my children in the Catholic faith and I am asking that my local diocese allows my children a Catholic education without regard to their vaccination status.

Colleen Nehrbass (Saint Johns, 2023-09-13)


We as parents that choose to send our children to receive a Catholic education should have the right to refuse vaccination for whatever reason. I find it very troubling that DOSA doesn’t accept religious exemptions but most of all other religious schools/institutions accept those same religions exemptions.

Michael Meehan (Jacksonville , 2023-09-13)


I attended k-12 in the diocese, and am a graduate of Bishop Kenny. My parents, grandfather, and numerous cousins, aunts, and uncles graduated from BK. I watched as one of my siblings had severe vaccine reactions when i was young. It was terrifying. I know enough through experience and research, that vaccines are not safe for everyone. If the diocesan policy remains the same, and religious exemptions are not accepted, I will be forced to look outside of catholic school as an education choice when I have children.

Gavin Meehan (Jacksonville, 2023-09-13)


All families should have the option of informed consent to make the best medical decisions for their family.

Lauren Dolman ( Jacksonville , 2023-09-13)


I'm signing this petition, because my religious beliefs around vaccines prohib my children from attending a Catholic school in the St. Augustine Diocese. I've done heavy research both spiritually and medically in coming to this conclusion. Many other Catholic schools throughout the US permit exemption, leaving the medical decision to the parents and their doctor.

Casie Zerbe (St Johns, 2023-09-13)


Vaccines are not safe

Anna Hirst (Jacksonville Beach, 2023-09-13)


My son attended Kindergarten at Holy Spirit School back when the diocese accepted the religious exemption and honored the sanctity and freedom of Catholic families. When the new policy was instituted, my son was informed he was not welcome into the First Grade. My son was only one of many children who are being denied a Catholic education and being forced into the public school system.

Patrick Flynn (Jacksonville , 2023-09-13)


I believe that parents should have the right. And not have to choose between giving their children a Catholic education or not.

Tanya Rowe (Jacksonville, 2023-09-13)


My husband, my three children & all of my ten grandchildren except for one has attended Catholic school. My youngest grandson will not continue the tradition of excellence at BKHS due to the diocesan policy to refuse education to children who have a religious exemption. My Catholic great grandchildren, my next generation, will not be able to continue the Catholic school tradition unless this policy is changed. Thank you for considering this very important matter that will affect many generations to come.

Donna Joseph (Jacksonville , 2023-09-13)


I would love to have the choice to send my kids to catholic school.

Alexandra Bucci (St Augustine , 2023-09-13)


I believe that parents are the best ones to evaluate whether their children should receive vaccines. They should not have to go against their conscience in order to send their children to Catholic schools.

Kelli Moneyhan (Jacksonville, 2023-09-13)


My daughter was immediately damaged after the Covid vaccine and diagnosed with POTS. This caused her to miss her senior year and took a year of treatments to recover. Although it is a life long condition she is finally in remission and will never get another vaccine.

Jennifer Ross (Jacksonville, 2023-09-13)


Families should have a choice to determine if they feel vaccines are safe and effective and whether they are comfortable administering to their children.

Jon Dolman (Jacksonville , 2023-09-13)


I believe parents should have the right to decide what is best for their child and family.

Kaylee Burke (Jacksonville , 2023-09-13)


We are sovereign beings. We have an immune system given to us by God. Vaccines are toxic and actually have side affects and can cause disease. Plus, anyone mandating a vaccine is violating the Nuremberg Code.

Amy Fields (St. Augustine , 2023-09-13)


I do not agree with the vaccine requirement currently in place for Catholic education. Parents should be allowed to decide what is best for their child and what their conscience tells them. No one in a position at the superintendent office should be able to make a decision for someone else’s child.

Amanda Swan (Jacksonville, 2023-09-13)


I pray that the DOSA will reconsider its position on not accepting religious exemptions. Parents do not make these decisions lightly. They should be able to make decisions in the best interest of their children, without the fear of having to give up an amazing Catholic education. I pray that this petition is met with an open mind and heart.

Patricia D (Jacksonville, 2023-09-14)


Our kids shouldn't have to reveal medical information to participate in school. They will be in and among our parish life, so it will not make a difference in schools.

Barbara Fryman (Saint Johns, 2023-09-14)


I don’t believe all vaccines are necessary for my child who attends Catholic School.

Michelle Bradner (Jacksonville , 2023-09-14)


Our kids deserve reform.

Jen Bailey (Jacksonville , 2023-09-14)


It’s wrong parents have the choice on their children and we should be allowed to exempt any vaccinations

Rebecca Eckstein (Jax, 2023-09-14)


Parents should have the right to determine the medical procedures performed on their children, especially those with ties to medical practices which utilize aborted fetal cells in the testing or creation, without restricting their child’s access to Catholic education.

Jilienne Alderfer (Jacksonville, 2023-09-14)


I have a close relative that had a reaction to the vaccine that could have killed her. It should be the parents choice whether or not they want their child vaccinated and they should not be condemned by the Diocese of St. Augustine for doing so.

Louis Joseph (Jacksonville , 2023-09-14)


Time for change.

Michelle Dattolo (Ponte Vedra, 2023-09-14)


I believe parents should have the first say in their children’s health and also be allowed a Catholic in house eduction as well. The diocese is Forcing families to do what they want. And if you don’t follow suit, you’re out. That is not what Jesus would do or would want the leaders of His church to be doing either.

Lisa Wagner (Jacksonville, 2023-09-15)


Education should not hinge on personal medical decisions

Lauren Ketelhut (Jacksonville, 2023-09-15)


I love my Catholic Faith. I attended Catholic School as a child (Christ the King) as did both of our children. They attended at Resurrection and BKHS. It was a choice we made to sacrifice and budget to be able to afford to put them through Catholic School, so they could learn in a environment that knows, teaches, and Loves God as we do. We all know the importance of a good Catholic Education. To think that my grandchildren might not be able to attend the same because the freedom to make medical decisions is being taken away from the parents is heartbreaking. As you know, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated can get sick, just like with most viruses. Why are we discriminating against our children whose parents do not feel safe with mandatory vaccine jabs? A vaccine without the data of long-term effects as a baseline, and considering that the vaccines utilize novel and as yet minimally tested mRNA gene therapy, it’s not really possible to give free and informed consent to the vaccine. Our kids are not experiments. They are precious children of God and deserve the right to have a safe, Catholic faith based learning environment.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts that the faithful must never be forced to act contrary to their conscience. In good conscience as Catholics, our faith-inspired opposition to abortion means to me that I cannot in good conscience take an abortion-tainted vaccine, and as Catholic parents, we should have the right to decide the same for our children.
I am praying that you reconsider your policies on this for my grandchildren and the future of all our Catholic children.

Patricia Hensley (Jacksonville, 2023-09-15)


This is my choice

Jill Maliszewski (Jacksonville , 2023-09-15)


The choice to vaccinate a child remains with the parent and should not be governed by the church. Will the Diocese take responsibility for injuries as a result of forced vaccines? Is one only Catholic and able to receive a Catholic-based education if they choose to inoculate themselves and their children? That does not sound very Christ-like. This is not the role of the church. Support families through Christ, not through radical rules.

Sabrina Bateh Kuruvilla (Jacksonville, 2023-09-15)


My wife and I are both Catholic and we would like the option for our son to be raised in the Catholic Church and schools as well without the mandate of having to put unnecessary toxins in his body.

Jeff Ashton (St. Johns , 2023-09-16)


I’m signing because my son was denied his right to education at a private catholic school because of his vaccination status. They do not accept medical or religious exemptions. I was told even if he had a severe reaction to the vaccine that I could potentially get special approval to space them out but it would need to be agreed upon by the diocese. This violates my parental right to make the best choices for my children. This should not interfere with his education or religion.

Kelsey Ondriezek (Orange park , 2023-09-16)


All families should be allowed a religious exemption of medical decisions especially at religious schools. It is not Christlike to turn away families for their medical decisions.

Grace Bedingfield (Palm Coast, 2023-09-16)


I home school with Abeka and this is one of the reasons.

benjamin barker (St Augustine/ Palm-Coast , 2023-09-16)


The Church should support medical freedom and honor the sanctity of life.

Melody Bolduc (Jacksonville, 2023-09-16)


Parents should be the primary decision maker for their children’s health.

Jacqueline Cobb (Saint Augustine , 2023-09-16)


Parents should have the rights to decide what is best for their child.

Nicole Shryock (Jacksonville, 2023-09-17)


Catholic schools shoukd accept religious exemptions because many childhood vaccines are cultured in aborted fetal cell lines.

Laura G (Miami, 2023-09-17)


All children have the right to an education

Ruth Spanswick (Jacksonville, 2023-09-17)


Government overreach has gone out of control

Tony Afara (Jacksonville , 2023-09-17)


I feel parents should be able to give their children a Catholic education and also be able to decide on whether vaccines are right for their children.

Cynthia Nehrbass (Neptune Beach, 2023-09-17)


I think all vaccines should be a parental choice, and children should not be denied a catholic education due to their exemption status. Jesus would never agree with that discriminatory policy.

Schamoun Joseph (Jacksonville, 2023-09-18)


The parent should always have the final decision on what’s best for their child.

Linda Shannahan (Jacksonville , 2023-09-18)


First, and most importantly, I read and study the Bible ... every singe day. Not only is it a source of wisdom, hope, and encouragement, but in my daily quiet time I have been given answers to the most difficult of life questions. I try my best to incorporate my faith into every aspect of my life. I believe that my purpose in life is directly linked to my ability to hear from the Holy Spirit. This translates into a million different life choices, some huge (like vaccinating my children) and lots of smaller ones (like having more patience with my children). The Bible teaches that when difficult decisions in life arise, we are to seek the wisdom of God through prayer not look to man. To do otherwise would be to grieve the Holy Spirit, which is THE one unpardonable sin. Please reconsider your vaccination stance and allow parents to hear from God.

Abigail Houck (Florida , 2023-09-18)


Laura Joseph Meehan is my niece and I have witnessed first-hand her daughter's struggle and severe reactions from these vaccines. She has researched and persevered extensively for this extremely important cause. Her voice should be heard and changes made to this important issue.

Julia Joseph (Jacksonville, 2023-09-18)


Policy vs Purpose…DOSA it’s time to course correct and reset. Placing your PURPOSE as the top priority. Your charge is to provide a catholic educational framework for our children to thrive. Policies that limit your purpose need to be abandoned.

Brian Meehan (Jacksonville, 2023-09-18)


I’m signing because I think vaccine mandates in private schools relinquish a parent’s right to choose for his or her child.

Collette Gray (Fernandina beach, 2023-09-18)


The Catholic Church is on the wrong side of this issue. Please reconsider your position.

Jason Gray (Fernandina Beach , 2023-09-18)


I agree that the diocese should give the freedom of choice regarding this issue to those who know these children best - their parents.

Jeanne Haddad (Jacksonville , 2023-09-18)


I think parents should get to choose what’s best for their kids

Lynsey Hendrick (Jacksonville, 2023-09-18)


Every educated, well-meaning parent should have the right to decide what is best for their child. The same exemptions that exist in public schools, should exist in Catholic Schools.

Kristen Gantt (Jacksonville, 2023-09-18)


I have a daughter with severe asthma who was allergic to vaccines and wound up hospitalized in respiratory arrest.

Sandy Powell (JACKSONVILLE, 2023-09-18)


I’m signing because parents should have rights as to what goes in their kids bodies.

Lindsay Luna (Jax beach , 2023-09-18)


After multiple vaccine injuries among my husband, myself and one of my 4 children in addition to having 2 children diagnosed with Autism, we made the extremely difficult decision to forgo vaccines for my youngest. Additionally, we are morally opposed to the use of aborted fetal cells in the process of testing and creating vaccines. And, many other hesitancies we now have after doing extensive research. Our youngest is a very healthy, vibrant, smart young man aged 4. Unfortunately, he is being discriminated against by the diocese and their refusal to allow him a Catholic education based upon his vaccine status.

Sheila A Ford (Green Cove Springs , 2023-09-18)


Completely in agreement!

Irene Easterbrook (North Port, 2023-09-19)


I’m signing because vaccines are not for everyone. They are a medical decision that should be made at home by parents, not schools, Diocese nor governments. And nobody should be denied from Catholic education due to not having them. Parents and students deserve medical freedom. After the pandemic we learned how this power on mandating medical procedures by governments and schools is dangerous. I pray for you to consider giving parents the blessing of being able to get Catholic education for all their children regardless of vaccination status. Thank you.

Rosy Perez (Jacksonville , 2023-09-19)


I'd like to have my right to choose.

Milane Viana (Jacksonville, 2023-09-19)


I believe in religious freedoms. Vaccines should not be required especially when they use aborted fetal dna in their creation and production.

Lilly Puchalsky (St johns , 2023-09-28)


Vaccines are poison. They cause autism, adverse reactions, and death, plain point blank PERIOD!

Andraea Thorn (Belleview , 2023-10-02)


I have been invited to be a part of a class action suit against Ascension Health because I was denied a religious exemption from this vaccine created from aborted babies. It is reprehensible that it had to come to that with a Catholic hospital.
Catholic teachings are the ends must justify the means. My hope is our Catholic Diocese will be Catholic and uphold this teaching on behalf of the students and their parents.

Jeanette Ghioto (Saint Johns, 2023-10-02)


My family moved from NYC since religious exemption were no longer honored there. My family believe Catholic teachings specially following conscience. We were so happy to move here in St Johns as we felt the freedom compared to being in NYC. Then we were so happy being close to San Juan Del Rio and signed up to be parishioners.
My wife and I have dreams of having a big family. We are both immigrants from Philippines and wanted to have better life for us and our family. We were both educated Catholic schools from kindergarten to Colleges. We believe it helped us a lot to try being a better person and following Gods will for our life now..

We were deeply saddened to know that our own parish school (and own diocese) doesnt welcome our kids and future kids to enroll in Catholic school because it is against our conscience to just follow the vaccine mandates for the kids and thats why we sought religious exemptions for them. And of course our Catholic Religion not honoring our religious exemption here in the Diocese of St Augustine. What happen to being a universal church? I thought all are welcome? Im glad and saddened at the same time that my Catholic kids are welcomed in public schools here, but not in the Catholic school. I hope this changes soon before my kids are changed not being able to go to Catholic schools just because my family ought to follow our conscience that our Catholic faith thought us.

Michael Bautista (St Johns, 2023-11-14)


Thank you for taking the time to read our petition, Your Excellency.

We have multiple reasons for why we no longer vaccinate our children. One reason is that our youngest child had a seizure after her 2 month shots & has suffered chronic effects that we believe stem from being up to date on the vaccine schedule until age 6. Another child has different reactions every time she's vaccinated. However, no medical professional is willing to possibly risk their license to assert that these are definitely vaccine injuries. For these 2 reasons, along with many others, (fetal tissue testing, immoral means of development, nasty chemicals, medical freedom, etc...) we believe that forcing parents to comply with the vaccine schedule is wrong. We believe this so strongly that we moved our family from our home in Maine when they kicked our children out of school due to their vaccination status and fled to Florida's sunny shores because we thought that the state of Florida believed in medical freedom. What's ironic is that the state government believes in our right to make medical decisions for our children and allows our children to attend any public school, but our Catholic children are not allowed to attend Catholic schools. Our Catholic children are discriminated against by our Catholic dioceses here in Florida. It's heartbreaking. I have 2 students, one in middle school, one in high school. Both children are in the honor roll consistently. Both children are loved by their teachers and receive recognition for their good behavior. Both children are members of NJHS, NHS, & NSHSS, respectively. They are in Honors and AP classes. They play soccer and field hockey. They're exemplary students and they cannot attend your schools because you choose to discriminate against Catholic students. Please, we beg of you, give us, and thousands of other families, the opportunity to attend the fine Catholic schools in this state. I am confident that if you, your Excellency, lead the conversation, you can lead your fellow bishops to see that respect for all must those who are unvaccinated or have ceased to vaccinate. Please, have mercy on our children, & welcome them. Please give them the excellent foundation of a Catholic education.
With gratitude and hope,
Krysia Bailey

Krysia Bailey (Spring Hill , 2024-01-24)

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