The father of a Pickens School student - whose complaint against the Randolph County Board of Education was heard in court Friday - spoke at Monday's board meeting, asking why his daughter is banned from participating in extracurricular activities at the school.
Phil Hudok told board members he just received a memo from Dr. James Phares, the county superintendent of schools, and one from Diane Betler, the Pickens principal.
Hudok said the memos informed him that his daughter, Olivia, is not allowed on school grounds for any activities, including 4-H meetings, her prom and her graduation.
On Friday, Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong ordered the county school system to provide homebound educational services to Olivia Hudok.
The Pickens senior was told by officials earlier in September not to return to school because of her refusal to get mandatory immunizations.
The Hudoks filed a complaint against the couuty board of education and Phares on Sept. 11, demanding they grant a religious exemption allowing her to return to school.
Wilfong ordered the school system to provide educational services for Olivia Hudok until there is a final resolution in Kanawha County Circuit Court, where the state's Department of Health and Human Resources' rule that all seventh- and 12-graders receive Tdap and MCV4 booster vaccinations is being challenged.
After receiving the new memos, Hudok said Monday his daughter is not being treated equally by school officials.
"If the 4-H club has guest speakers, they are allowed in and no one checks on their immunization records," Phil Hudok said. "Is this fair?"
Hudok said his daughter, who is the president of the 4-H club that meets at Pickens School, canceled the 4-H meeting scheduled for this weekend because she is not allowed to attend.
"I checked with my attorney and he said the vaccine requirements only include the first round of shots for a visitor," Phil Hudok said. "And even those have never been enforced. We do not check visitors. Why should my daughter be held to different standards?"
Phares said he is looking for further guidance on the issue.
"I sent a memo to Dr. Mary Boyd at the Elkins-Randolph County Health Department," Phares said. "I have referred this to our attorney as well."
Board member Ed Tyre asked Phares if he would contact the state for an interpretation of the law. Phares said he would also contact the state on the matter.
Also during the meeting, members of the board granted permission for a group of fourth-grade students wanting to combine learning about the free enterprise system with helping others.
The George Ward Elementary School students were represented at the board meeting by principal Fran McLaughlin, requesting approval for a St. Jude's Hospital benefit.
"The students are learning about setting up a business and record keeping," McLaughlin said. "The letter before you seeking permission for this fundraiser is their work."
McLaughlin said the students want to make duct tape items and sell them to students and teachers. The students wanting to do the fundraiser, who are in the extended studies class, intend to donate the profits of their venture to St. Jude's Hospital.
"They chose St. Jude's because the money goes directly to helping children," McLaughlin said. "They are very, very excited about the prospect of this project."
Tyre commended the students for their idea.
"I think this is wonderful," Tyre said.
Also during the meeting, the Pickens School student representative to the board, Alexis Chandler, showed a power point presentation sharing a day in the life of a Pickens School student.
The next Randolph County Board of Education meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Oct. 15.
Contact Beth Christian Broschart by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.