Louisiana Exemptions Explained
There are 3 main types of exemptions: medical, religious and philosophical/personal belief. In Louisiana we are extremely fortunate that the law pertaining to schools and daycares doesn’t specify nor limit what kind of exemption is accepted. In fact, it’s so basic and straightforward that you don’t have to provide a reason, you simply state that you’re opting out, a “written dissent”.
So you don’t have to say why you’re using an exemption; you just submit a written statement stating that you are. You must, however, turn in an exemption at the beginning of each school year.
You can see the law in its entirety here; the exemption paragraph is Section E:
No person seeking to enter any school or facility enumerated in Subsection A of this Section shall be required to comply with the provisions of this Section if the student or his parent or guardian submits either a written statement from a physician stating that the procedure is contraindicated for medical reasons, or a written dissent from the student or his parent or guardian is presented.
Louisiana Exemptions Apply to ALL Daycares, Schools, Colleges – They MUST Accept Your Exemption!
You read that right. It doesn’t matter if they receive state funding or not. ALL daycares and ALL schools MUST accept your exemption. This includes: public, private, Catholic, vocational schools, etc.
Unfortunately many administrators are misinformed. Usually though, upon notifying them of the law (mention it specifically, R.S. 17:170, read as “revised statutes seventeen one seventy”) they comply. If you’re met with resistance, it may help to print out the law and attach it to the exemption, though it’s not necessary.
Another reference you can use is the Louisiana Department of Health website – they specifically talk about immunization exemptions: “There is no requirement for the document to be notarized, and all requests are granted.”
If once informed they still refuse to comply with the law, contact your state representative/senator (find yours here). Sometimes all it takes is a phone call or two. And of course LAPVR is here to help as well!
Exemptions in LA Do NOT Need to Be Notarized (don’t do it!)
If the daycare or school tells you it must be notarized they are wrong. Reference the law, Revised Statutes 17:170 (specifically Section E where it states what you need to submit and how there is NO mention of requiring it to be notarized) and the Louisiana Department of Health’s statement on their website affirming what the law declares: “There is no requirement for the document to be notarized, and all requests are granted.”
So please don’t get it notarized. It’s not necessary nor warranted by the law. We actually have had to fight daycares and schools that try to demand that because it places an unnecessary burden on the parent and the bottom line is the law doesn’t require it. It just has to be a “written statement of dissent”. We don’t want to train administrators into thinking the exemption is not acceptable or official or legal if it’s not notarized.