Enforced Vaccination

Do schools have the right to fine or jail parents who refuse to vaccinate kids?

ByABC News

Nov. 14, 2007— -- Sick kids are regularly encouraged to stay home from school so they don't infect their peers. But in one high school, students are being asked to stay home if they are not properly vaccinated.

Three months into the school year, nearly 2,000 students in Prince Georges County remain unvaccinated for diseases like hepatitis B and chickenpox. Some students have been out of school for a month despite ample opportunities for free shots from the school system.

School officials, faced with stubborn parents and delinquent students, have decided to bring in the law.

"If we have stubborn parents who won't do it the easy way, I'm willing to do it the hard way and use legal action to compel them," said Glenn Ivery, Price Georges County states attorney.

Incentive to comply comes in the form of a $50 per day fine and up to 10 days in jail for those who refuse to get their children vaccinated. Every state requires kids in schools to be vaccinated, but few have taken to enforcing that law the way Prince Georges County has.

The policy, though, is clearly having an effect. Hundreds of parents are calling into the school to make sure their children are vaccinated and they'll stay out of jail.

LISA STARK and HANNA SIEGEL contributed to this report.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events