Wednesday, February 11, 2015


John came into class in a state. He was livid.

It was a special ed science class, and it turned out that I knew many of the kids from previous classes. Which can be a good or bad thing, depending.

John came right up to me and complained. About measles.

The whole anti-vaxxer measles thing has apparently been a discussion in some classes. Or among students. I don't know. I do know that John was angry, so I let him vent.

He couldn't understand why people thought there was a link between vaccines and autism. John explained that he had Asperger's, so he was qualified to have an opinion. He fumed about how vaccines have to do with the immune system while autism has to do with the brain.

I nodded and let him vent.

What could I say? I wasn't going to argue with him. I agree with him.

Ah well. I tried to explain some of the history of it all, but I don't know if it helped. The bell rang, and I had to start class.


  1. My husband and I had that discussion the other night, but what it boiled down to was freedom. Parents should have the right to choose whether they vaccinate their children or not, just as they have the right to home school them or put them in soccer or dress them in all pink. I worry though that politicians and public opinion will rob us of some of those rights, as they've taken others. *sigh*

  2. I agree with him, too. Astute kid! It's also fascinating that kids (who are arguably the group most impacted) are aware of the issue.

    VR Barkowski

  3. He is good at taking a stand and defending it. Could be good for the debate team.


    1. True. Now, we just need to get them a debate team.

  4. I agree with him too. And I believe whether to have your child vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella isn't a matter of personal choice but a public health matter. The anti-vaxxer movement came about because people don't understand the difference between correlation (2 things happen at the same time) and causation (1 thing causes the other thing). The MMR vaccine is typically given to children between the ages of 12-18 months. That is the same period where age development milestones include items that the absence of will lead to testing for autism. So in many cases people can rightly say that my child was vaccinated and then he/she was diagnosed with autism but just as many can say my child was diagnosed with autism and then we had him/her vaccinated. Maybe we'd be better off if everyone was required to pass a class in statistics before graduating from high school. (sorry the correlation/causation mistake is one of my pet peeves).

  5. I saw a good FB post the other day showing graphs of ridiculous correlations and how the anti-vaxxers have used this type of propaganda in their arguments. Good on him for being to passionate about his beliefs.

    1. One can make anyone believe anything with a careful manipulation of the data.


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