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Teen-ager Arrested For Not Having State-Mandated Shots

April 26, 1996

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (AP) _ Sixteen-year-old Jacob Kallas was arrested, cuffed and jailed overnight because he didn’t have the paperwork for his measles, mumps and rubella shots.

Jacob’s mother, Janet Kallas, admits she ignored two court orders to provide her son’s new school with proof of the immunizations, which he did receive.

But she couldn’t believe authorities would throw her child in jail over a missing piece of paper.

``I didn’t realize we were in such a police state,″ the mother of five said. ``We’re talking about a really good kid who’s freaking out because he’s in jail. It’s my fault. I should be the one who was held.″

Officials in this Milwaukee suburb say Mrs. Kallas had plenty of warning in the seven months since Jacob changed high schools.

``We’re not looking to jail the kids,″ Ozaukee County corporation counsel Dennis Kenealy said Friday. ``We’ve issued warrants before and the parents come right in.″

Jacob was stopped around midnight Wednesday as he was driving home from his restaurant job because his mother’s van had expired license plates. A routine check showed he was wanted on a juvenile warrant from Ozaukee County, but it didn’t say for what.

``They cuffed me,″ Jacob said. ``I was so confused. They left the van there and took me to the Brookfield police station and let me call my mom.″

Jacob said he was forced to strip, shower and put on an orange jail jumpsuit after his transfer to a juvenile detention center.

Taken to court in shackles Thursday, he was released to his mother, who was told to confirm that Jacob had received his shots or sign a waiver that said she didn’t want him to get them.

Many state judges have issued immunization-related bench warrants, but most parents move quickly to get shots or resolve a possible error in record keeping, said Dan Hopfensperger, state immunization program supervisor for the Bureau of Public Health.

``I’m pretty sure that no one was ever jailed,″ Hopfensperger said. ``It’s fairly unprecedented to do that.″

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