“O, that way madness lies.” — King Lear
The anti-vaxxer madness has descended to a new level of insanity. Teachers at the Centner Academy in Miami have been advised against getting the COVID vaccination before school resumes in the fall. The Academy’s founder, Leila Centner, lays out the school’s position in an e-mail to parents
“It is our policy, to the extent possible, not to employ anyone who has taken the experimental COVID-19 injection until further information is known,”
And why does Centner take this position? She claims the vaccination is “new and yet to be researched.” She also recommended that faculty and staff hold off on taking the injection “until there is further research available on whether this experimental drug is impacting unvaccinated individuals.”
There’s the rub. It is one thing to be against mandatory vaccination for yourself or others because of what a vaccine might do to the recipient. But Centner is worried about what ill-effects a person who has received a vaccination might cause in someone who hasn’t.
Specifically, she warned that vaccinated persons “may be transmitting something from their bodies” that could harm others, particularly the “reproductive systems, fertility, and normal growth and development in women and children.”
Centner gets specific,
“Reports have surfaced recently of non-vaccinated people being negatively impacted by interacting with people who have been vaccinated.”
“Even among our own population, we have at least three women with menstrual cycles impacted after having spent time with a vaccinated person.”
“We know not everyone agrees on this topic, but this is our philosophy at Centner Academy, one in which many of our teachers and parents share.”
It sounds like something an apologetic proponent of the ‘Flat Earth Society’ might say. It is the attempt of someone promoting an absurd point of view to appear reasonable — when rationality is nowhere in sight.
Centner defends her position, as most cranks and loons do in the internet age, with links to sites that support her insanity. However, you won’t find any rigorous research, peer review, or academic support in her favor. As one expert, Dr. Aileen Marty, a physician and infectious disease specialist with Florida International University’s Wertheim College of Medicine, pointed out,
“It gives the illusion that she’s basing it on facts, but there’s not one citation, there’s not one physician or scientist whose name is spelled out in there. There’s [sic] no references. There’s nothing. There is no scientific evidence provided. Rumor is the only thing that’s there, and if you look at the reality, there’s zero, zero science behind those allegations.”
Centner has been active in the anti-vaxxer community for years. And brought that scientific illiteracy to her academic venture. The school announces it is a haven of “Medical freedom from mandated vaccines”. Because:
“there is a large belief in the United States that the excess of mandatory vaccines is actually damaging them. In fact, in the past 20 years, U.S. statistics prove that children are experiencing doubled rates of Attention Deficit Disorder and learning disabilities, doubled rates of asthma, tripled rates of diabetes, and a rise in autism in every single state at the rate of 600 percent.”
But not to worry, if you are a parent swayed by pseudo-science and bullshit, the Academy will work with you “to complete a medical or religious exemption form to opt out of the school vaccination program.”
And just to show how deep down the rabbit hole Centner is, in February, she welcomed Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the prominent antivaccine activist. to speak to students. (Mr. Kennedy was suspended from Instagram a few days later for promoting Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.) And this month, the school hosted a Zoom talk with Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a New York pediatrician frequently cited by anti-vaccination activists.
The Centners, Leila and her husband David, opened the Centner Academy in 2019 as a ‘happiness school’. As it says on its website,
We take happiness and emotional intelligence seriously. We aspire for kids to thrive and to lead truly ‘flourishing lives’…
To this end, the school has a chiropractor on staff to give adjustments to students and staff and practices meditation among students with the use of crystals. All harmless stuff I suppose. And make of it what you will. But note, this spirit of Kumbaya comes with a price tag. An annual fee of $29,850 for middle schoolers — and it costs $2,200 just to get enrolled in the first place.
If you want your children to be misinformed and can’t afford the $30,000 I’ll do it for half that. DM me.