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Parents need to held accountable for their children
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
Jul 03, 2014 | 159 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tuesday, the Winona Board of Aldermen adopted a curfew ordinance forbidding juveniles, 17 years old and younger, to be out past 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and past midnight Friday and Saturday. Those who violate the curfew will be fined $100.

In recent weeks, several Winona residents have complained about the increase in petty crime involving juveniles, from public fighting to malicious mischief. In fact, at Tuesday’s meeting, four residents of Church Street complained to the Winona Board of Aldermen about juveniles causing disturbances in their neighborhood by using loud profanity, having loud verbal fights on the street, and littering.

One resident informed the board of a juvenile who is currently facing charges for throwing a rock through her glass door.

Chief Johnny Hargrove explained Tuesday that juvenile laws prevent youth offenders from being locked up, with the exception of serious charges, and Youth Court Judge Tarik Johnson confirmed there is only so much he can do due to limited resources in the court system.

However, both Hargrove and Johnson agreed that a curfew ordinance would make a difference, especially if the parents of juvenile offenders were held responsible for paying the $100 fine for violating the ordinance.

What’s that old saying? It takes a village to raise a child.

The community does play a part in bringing up a responsible, civic-minded child. People in the community should be role models. They should set expectations on education and community service. They should assist in giving young people a safe and wholesome stage on which to become outstanding citizens.

However, some parents seem to take the it-takes-a-village adage literally.

I’m rearing my own child these days, and I am not stupid enough to say “My kid will never…,” because the odds are he will – even with a strict upbringing. My parents did not put up with any nonsense, often reminding my sisters and me to “never end up the dinnertime conversation at someone else’s house.” Most always, the discussion does not place someone in a positive light.

Even with the heaping serving of guilt, I messed up. I acted like a total fool sometimes, like I had absolutely zero sense. But in those moments of complete brainlessness, I knew I was wrong, and I was reminded of just how wrong I was when my punishment was handed down.

In enforcing their own curfew, my parents also had another insightful saying, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” They were right.

There is no reason for children to be roaming the streets at all hours of the night because after midnight, there isn’t much to do around here but get into trouble.

I realize that kids mess up. They don’t think about their actions and do stupid things. They also have no concept of “consequences.”

It is the parents’ job to set rules and boundaries for their child. It is the parents’ job to assure these rules are followed. It is the parents’ job to dish out punishment. It is the parents’ job to keep their kids at home at night and off the streets, causing mayhem and mischief. It is the parents’ role to teach their kids right and wrong.

If you are relying on the police department, youth court, and the Board of Aldermen to set boundaries for your children, it’s time to get a grip and be a parent.

Maybe a few $100 fines will show some parents the concept of “consequences.”

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