A federal judge in New York denied a request on Tuesday to allow unvaccinated children to return to school.
U.S. District Court Judge Vincent Briccetti ruled that 44 students were not allowed to return to class at Green Meadow Waldorf School in Rockland County, New York, citing an “unprecedented measles outbreak,” according to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News.
Briccetti ruled against a lawyer representing the students’ parents, who have filed a lawsuit challenging the Rockland Health Department and its commissioner for not allowing the unvaccinated children to attend school.
The lawsuit argued that the health department’s decision to bar the students from campus violates the families’ right not to vaccinate their children for religious reasons.
“The plaintiffs have not demonstrated that public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction,” Briccetti said in court Tuesday, according to the paper.
Parents of the unvaccinated children say none of them have contracted measles.
The county has been dealing with a measles outbreak since last fall.
The news outlet noted that there have been 145 cases of measles reported in the area since October, with three more suspected cases currently being investigated.
The Rockland Health Department issued an order in December that certain schools in specific zip codes with vaccination rates under 95 percent must prohibit unvaccinated children from going to school.