A Pickens School student and her father said they are prepared to continue their legal fight against vaccine requirements despite the dismissal of a lawsuit in Kanawha County Wednesday.
"I kind of like being an underdog," Phil Hudok, the father of Olivia Hudok, who has been banned from attending classes, told The Inter-Mountain Wednesday. "I am committed to do what's right and we feel this is the right thing. I am going to continue to educate the public on vaccinations, and I feel I have more drive to see this through."
The 17-year-old 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 Randolph County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares on Sept. 11, demanding they grant a religious exemption allowing her to return to school.
On Sept. 28, Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong ordered the school system to provide educational services for Olivia Hudok until there was 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 was being challenged.
Phil Hudok said Wednesday he was disappointed the judge in Kanawha County did not hold a hearing before making the decision.
"He just dismissed the case," he said. "This is a big problem across the state. Each county involved is doing something different.
"Even though the judge ruled against (the lawsuit), he did not address whether the Department of Health and Human Resources has the authority to use interpretive rules to add vaccinations to the state mandated schedule."
Contacted by The Inter-Mountain Wednesday, Phares declined to comment on the outcome of the Kanawha County case.
"I think a comment would be premature," Phares said. "There is an upcoming hearing in Randolph County next (week)."
Greg Bailey, an attorney representing Randolph County Schools in the case, said there was a hearing initially scheduled for Tuesday, but he said he was unsure if it is going to take place.
With the situation still unresolved, Olivia said she has some concerns about the future.
"If I get married and have children, will I be allowed to go to their school?" Olivia asked. "Will this be resolved so I can go to my prom and graduation?"