D.C. Is Banning 40% Of Black Students From School?

There is a claim that nearly half of all black students are barred from attending D.C. public schools this fall, but is it accurate?

By Sharon Norbury | Published

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Controversy has erupted over public schools within the nation’s capital. The District of Columbia will be the only place in the entire nation that will require students to be vaccinated in order to attend public school. People recently pointed out that this would disproportionately affect the area’s black students. However, D.C.’s mayor refuted this claim, calling it inaccurate.

The claim that nearly half of all D.C. black students will be banned from attending school later this month stems from a press conference held earlier this week by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Taking questions, Douglas Blair with The Daily Caller noted that the news outlet had obtained documentation showing that 40% of black students in the district remained unvaccinated against COVID-19 and therefore would be unable to start school. Bowser then replied, saying that she didn’t believe his numbers were correct. 

To back up the conservative media outlet’s claim, the site gathered COVID vaccine data available on the city’s governing website. They concluded this by showing how 40% of black students aged 12-17 have not fully completed their vaccine regimen. Therefore, they concluded that this group of children would be unable to attend school when it starts in just a few weeks.

However, what the mayor may have been alluding to is the fact that this information may actually be misleading, after all. While it is true that D.C. children will have to be vaccinated in order to attend school, this data doesn’t tell the whole story. By the start of the school year, students need only have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine in order to attend. Additionally, some families will be able to ask for exemptions for certain circumstances. Ultimately, asserting that black students who haven’t been fully vaccinated may paint a false picture of the situation.

Despite the fact that this statistic regarding black students may be misleading, many individuals are furious at D.C.’s decision to require children 12 and up to get the COVID vaccine. Many parents are hesitant to give their children the vaccine, considering how quickly it was developed, and due to the fact that it was approved by the FDA under emergency orders. Similarly, many fear possible adverse side effects that have been linked to harming children, despite the fact that serious reactions have been extremely rare

Because of the pushback, states have not mandated that school children get vaccinated against the virus. Even in California, where the government was set to impose COVID vaccination mandates for the 2023 school year, the proposal continues to be halted. Other states touting a proposal to mandate the vaccine have failed to implement any such measures, despite D.C.’s proposal that some say is putting a target on black students. 

Although it may be the only school system in the nation doing so, officials are adamant that the measure requiring school children to get vaccinated against COVID is a move to keep the major city protected. As of today, the region is at medium levels of spread for the virus. Whether or not this measure deters the spread is unknown, as is the notion that the mandate is disproportionately affecting black students.