About 3,000 D.C. public school students have been suspended from school over the past few weeks because they either were not immunized against certain contagious diseases or did not have a record of immunization.
Approximately 800 students, many of them seniors, were suspended from McKinley Technical High School in Northeast, a move that drew complaints from several parents.
One parent, Jessie Harris, who has two sons in the 12th grade, said last night that her sons had been immunized but claimed that school officials had misplaced their records.
Harris said she was upset because one of her sons missed an important test because he was suspended. "It's not fair to the kids," Harris said. "I took off work to get them the shots. I know they got the shots."
Dr. William Brown, assistant superintendent for student services, said that students were suspended only if their schools did not have records indicating they were immunized against such diseases as whooping cough, diptheria, typhoid, polio and measles. Brown said parents were notified if the schools did not have records on their children and the youths were given 20 days to get the shots, Brown said it is a school board rule to suspend students who cannot prove that they have been immunized.
Brown said he did not know how many of the 3,000 students who were sent home have gotten shots and returned to school.
He added that there are a number of clinics in the city that will give the youngsters the required shots at no charge.
The rule requiring students without shots to be excluded from their classes is two years old, but this is the first year that students actually have been sent home if they could not prove that they were immunized, Brown said.