Preschools on the Front Lines of the Measles Battle

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Erin Russell volunteers at the Sand Tots preschool, which doesn't accept unvaccinated children. (Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

For 19 years, the director of the Laguna Parent Participation Preschool has worked alongside mothers and fathers to decide such questions as what children should eat during snack breaks and what type of field trips they should take.

But when the current measles outbreak prompted the school to review its vaccination policy, the south Orange County co-operative found itself confronting questions normally left to politicians and public health officials.

“We’re a microcosm of what everyone is coming up against,” said Barbara Crowley, the school’s director. “Do parents have a right to decide to vaccinate their children or not?”

Kindergarten classrooms and preschools have been pushed to the front lines as measles cases continue to roll in and the national debate over vaccines grows more heated.

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