Keeping the Kids At Home

1 decade 9 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, August 08 2007 Aug 8, 2007 Wednesday, August 08, 2007 8:35:44 AM CDT August 08, 2007 in News

The Ashland City Park is a popular hang out. JD Parenti and his friends are there almost everyday.

"A lot of kids are just out at night, just walking around, just 'cause it's cooler outside at night during the summer and we have nothing to do," he said.

Bored youngsters, however, have been the suspects in several complaints.

"Over this past weekend we had a lot of mailbox vandalism. Obviously, it's kids with nothing better to do, out late and unsurprised. We need a way to deal with that," said Ashland Police Chief Scott Robbins.

Ashland's way of dealing with unsupervised children was to pass a curfew ordinance that would keep minors 16 and younger off Ashland streets between midnight and 5 a.m.

The discussion of the curfew began when 12 of the park's picnic tables were broken.

"I'm not a trouble maker. I'm not like out here doing drugs, whatever, graffiti, whatever you want to call it, but they're just, like, stereotyping all the kids saying that we would be out here after that time of the night, just causing trouble and not everyone is," said Parenti.

"With this ordinance, they feel like they're being unfairly judged without doing anything wrong. I can see their point, and I do empathize with that, but at the same time, I need something that when I get a kid that's a problem, we have a recourse to make them go home and get off the streets," said Robbins.

Since the officers use their discretion to determine the enforcement of consequences, they know there's room for more complaining, but hopefully less vandalism.

The consequence for a minor being caught after hours is a fine between $50 and $500. After the first offense, the child could be taken into custody for delinquency and juvenile referral.

The exceptions to staying out include individuals with their parents, emergency situations, returning home from an event, lawful employment and other "appropriate things," according to city administrator Ken Eftink.

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