BUFFALO, N.Y – The HighWire’s Del Bigtree, reporting from the courthouse with Ali and Orooba Hamideh and their son Ameer, broke the news live from The HighWire’s Facebook page today: Ameer Hamideh is going back to school. Despite Ameer’s signed vaccine medical exemption, the Erie County Supreme Court judge in the case requested that his parents obtain a confirmation that the signature on the form is indeed from their neurologist.
Ameer’s parents and their counsel requested a temporary restraining order to re-admit Ameer to school during the duration of the court proceedings. That order was granted by the judge today.
The parents are claiming his school had no valid basis to accept the opinion of an employee from the New York State Department of Health (NYDOH) over Ameer’s treating physician. Court documents state, “New York state law allows any doctor to provide a valid medical exemption, and does not allow the NYSDOH any authority to overrule that exemption.”
The NYDOH employee who denied Ameer’s exemption is not a neurologist, did not review his medical records, did not examine him and never consulted with his neurologist.
“School’s his life. He’s been there five years. He’s grown there. So they really are another family for him.” said Orooba Hamideh, mother of Ameer.
On June 13th, New York State passed bill S2994A revoking all non-medical exemptions for any child in public or private school. Over 26,000 children lost their exemption that day, including Ameer. Having already had a signed medical exemption, the Hamidehs believed the newly implemented legislation won’t affect Ameer.
His exemption read,
“Patient carries a diagnosis of Lennox Gastaut with refractory seizures. Patient has a history of hospitalization following immunization in the past for seizure activity triggered by these immunizations.”
Yet on September 12th, Ameer’s parents received a letter from the NYDOH claiming his disorder and history of seizure activity after vaccination was not a valid contraindication to vaccinations. His exemption was denied as was his entry to school.
Today’s verdict marks a glimmer of hope and relief for Ameer and his parents, and although this is just the beginning, today’s small victory is one step closer for every family in New York who is navigating through the new vaccine mandates with disabled children.