Daytime School Day Curfew Up for a Vote
This summer has been extremely difficult for many of us who live, work and learn in Atlanta. Our city is experiencing crime to the point where fear and frustration have become palpable. I commend our Atlanta Police Officers for their tireless efforts to protect and serve the good people of Atlanta. They are using every resource available to identify, capture and convict individuals who operate outside of the law. I also strongly urge citizens to maintain a sense of calm and courage, but not complacency.
It is always difficult to impose strict rules. Yet, we must be realistic about what our fellow citizens, families and neighborhoods are facing with regard to crime. and the personal stories of the unfortunate victims, reveal that too many young people are becoming involved in carjackings, robberies, burglaries, shoplifting and home invasions in broad daylight. We cannot accept or tacitly condone the attacking of our seniors, teachers, residents, business owners and other law abiding citizens.
Let me be clear, this is not a condemnation of all of our city’s youth. I am personally aware of numerous young people who are respectful of the law and are good citizens. Similarly, this is not an attack on parents who are diligent in ensuring that their children are in school or otherwise accounted for during the day. I interact with promising youth as I regularly visit schools throughout our city during the academic year. To date, nearly 2,500 students and their parents have participated in my semi-annual College Prep Series which focuses on getting young people successfully admitted into college. As well, I am not oblivious to the challenges many of our youth and their families face. With a weak economy, limited employment opportunities and too few summer recreational programs, the potential for committing crime increases exponentially. Still, this reality can NEVER justify criminal behavior.
To the parents of Atlanta, we need your help and support. Before, above and beyond our teachers, principals and the police, the primary responsibility to direct, discipline and monitor a youth rests with that youth’s parent or guardian. It is not too much to ask for a parent to be involved in and ultimately responsible for the whereabouts of their son or daughter during school hours. Furthermore, the safety of our young people is a major reason I proposed the ordinance as it is designed to protect our children. Properly supervised at school or home, our young people cannot be forced or influenced to participate in a, be arrested by the police, or worse, be themselves harmed by a fearful or frustrated victim.
Our greatest asset and source of inspiration are the youth of Atlanta. Any action the City Council can take to prevent them from committing crimes, or being a victim of one, must be given serious consideration. Only through bold leadership and decisive action can we reclaim our communities and streets. Join me in this effort by participating in a suspicious activity occurs. Working together, and only together, will we succeed in protecting our youth and saving our city.