Children banned from public places?

Children banned from public places?

Measles Outbreak

The measles outbreak in NY has people running scared, including the Rockland County Executive. Recently there was an announcement by the Rockland County Executive that children (those under the age of 18) who aren’t vaccinated for measles, are banned from showing up in public places. I don’t recall any New York state county doing anything like this, at least not in my memory. They’re battling one of the worst outbreaks of measles in their recent history. I imagine it’d be pretty difficult if not impossible to ever fully enforce.

Truly it’s probably more for publicity and effect than trying to enforce it. I don’t know how you prove whether someone’s immunized. There’s no scarlet letter on the forehead, which of course would take us back to the dark ages, to determine whether or not the child’s been vaccinated, you know what I mean? You can identify that someone’s under 18. But I don’t know how you can prove or they can prove one way or another whether they’ve been vaccinated, other than if you ask them and they could say they did. That doesn’t mean anything.

Is it legal?

One caller to my radio interview posed the following statement: “Seems like there would be potentially a lot of legal challenges if the authorities in Rockland County choose to try to enforce this.” Actually as a public health emergency you could ban people who weren’t vaccinated from the public, if you can demonstrate on facts that it’s a public health emergency. Those are permissible, it can be done under limited circumstances. I think it just calls to attention though the problem that county is having. Measles is a bad disease, both types of measles. I’m old enough to have had both of them. I had it when I was very young, and I almost died from it, so I can speak from direct experience. I still have a recollection of the doctor coming to my house, and I had a horrible fever. This is back in the days when doctors paid house calls. They didn’t have any cure. I remember being maybe two or three years old, being put in a tub of ice because I was so sick.

Measles are Serious

Measles are a serious problem, and the local health officials in Broome County state how important it is for people to be immunized, have their kids immunized, to prevent some of these dangerous diseases. There apparently are several outbreaks across the country according to the CDC. I’m not aware if other counties aside from Rockland has instituted such an extreme measure. It remains to be seen whether they’ll ever be able to enforce it.

Unusual event in Chicago

Another story that’s in the news, and some people still are shaking their heads over what happened in Chicago, with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropping all the charges against actor Jessie Smollett, who had been accused of filing a false report. Many people say they didn’t see that coming and it’s even caused protests in the city.

What is the DA thinking?

Usually the DA chooses not to bring certain cases because they doesn’t think they can prove it. Even though there might have been enough information to arrest somebody, the DA makes the final decision as to whether this is a winnable case at trial, or whether it’s worth all the time and expense and money to try and win this case. Presumably that’s what they did, unless they came up with new evidence and didn’t disclose it, that’s possible also. We certainly have reason to believe there’s more to the story than has been disclosed up to this point. This is one very strange, the whole story was strange from the beginning, and it has more twists and turns than the Mississippi River.

Hope for Transparency

And to have a situation where the prosecutors are now at odds with the Mayor of Chicago, and the city’s police commissioner. Not to mention the rank-and-file police officers. I’ve read some of the comments on a Chicago Police Department posting board online, and several hundred comments that were posted within a couple of hours of the announcement showed there are a lot of people who are still in disbelief. I guess it’s one of those things you hope for transparency, when people make those kind of decisions. If I was in that position I probably would’ve at least run it by the mayor and the police department telling them that this is what I’m going do, it’s my decision. If you don’t have transparency sometimes then you end up with all sorts of internal problems.

If you’d like to share your opinion or ask questions about a particular legal matter, it’s important to me and the Team here at Stanley Law to help you better Joe Stanley of Stanley Law Offices Syracuseunderstand your rights. You can go to, there’s lots of good information there. You can send me an email,, or you can call 1-800-608-3333. We have offices in Syracuse, Watertown, Binghamton, Rochester, and Montrose, PA. While we focus on personal injury cases, I’m always open to answering any legal questions you may have. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll be sure to put you in touch with someone who does.