Teen clubs stir curfew debate

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As the city considers whether to place limits on how long teen clubs can stay open, some local and state officials are questioning the effectiveness of teen curfews in general.

Augusta commissioners will vote Tuesday on whether to force teen clubs to close at 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11:30 p.m. on weekends. Proponents say this will allow teens to meet their 11 p.m. weekday and midnight weekend curfews.

Venus Cain, a Richmond County school board member, said lack of enforcement has kept the curfew from being effective. Teen clubs only added to the problem, she said.

"The teen clubs were an accident waiting to happen," Mrs. Cain said. "We used to go out to McDonald's for a hamburger after a football game. Those days are gone."

The ordinance was enacted in 1997, but night patrol deputies still issue warnings or citations to about 10 teenagers a week, said Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

He believes that forcing Augusta's four teen clubs to shut down earlier would eliminate a gray area about whether having adults at the club constitutes adult supervision, which is required for teens out past the curfew, Sheriff Strength said.

"This would add more teeth to the curfew," he said.

But teens still have to be willing to adhere to the ordinance, he said.

Between December 2006 and February, more than 40 reports were made at one teen hot spot, Club Platinum, including a murder and aggravated assaults, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Tony Hyatt. The club is typically open only one day a week, Investigator Hyatt said.

Crime has not been an issue at other teen clubs, but closing all clubs earlier will aid in keeping teens safe, he said.

"About 95 percent of the crimes happened after midnight," Investigator Hyatt said. "I don't see any need for them to be out after midnight."

Most Georgia cities and counties, including Columbia County, don't have teen curfews because of enforcement difficulties, said Georgia Municipal Association spokeswoman Amy Henderson.

The main obstacle with teen curfews is enforcing them, said Terry Norris, the executive vice president of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association. Many sheriffs' offices don't have the resources to keep teens off the streets after curfew, he said.

"Law enforcement shouldn't really have to baby-sit the children who are out past midnight," Mr. Norris said. "Curfews can be effective, but they're only going to be effective to those who want to obey the law."

Ensuring teens obey the curfew will take an effort from the community as a whole, Mrs. Cain said.

"I know they want to have fun, but there's a time and place for everything, but we have to let them know we're doing it to keep them safe," she said.

"If law enforcement really enforces it and the parents work with them, it can really be effective."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

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christian134
1
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christian134 03/27/08 - 05:01 am
0
0
Nothing will help if we do

Nothing will help if we do not have a police force large enough, trained well enough, paid salaries and benefits befitting someone who will do the job,,,,,Only then will we begin to see the results from the curfew if implemented. Oh and parents or those who are parents biologically speaking; try and make sure the kids are home where they are supposed to be especially during the week. Parents are there to raise their children not leave it to others to fullfill that role. The police, no matter how large or well trained, will not get the job done without some kind of structure from these kids parents.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 03/27/08 - 06:52 am
0
0
The problem with the curfew

The problem with the curfew as it is written is that teens can be with ANY adult after curfew hours. Many times police are finding teens out with friends and out of the 5 teens 1 is 18 and the rest are underage. When that occurs the police cannot enforce the curfew. The teens are considered to be in the company of an "adult". The curfew should be more specific as to who the "adult" can be. A parent or legal guardian for example. For those of you who know and have read my comments, I have first hand knowledge of these facts. The curfew has a loophole that needs to be closed.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7928
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 03/27/08 - 06:56 am
0
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You are correct AV and also a

You are correct AV and also a fine for the parents will put some real teeth into it. Say the second time a teen is caught out after curfew.

oh bull
0
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oh bull 03/27/08 - 06:57 am
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my daddy didn't need the

my daddy didn't need the police to enforce his curfew

Reality
3
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Reality 03/27/08 - 07:05 am
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Well, the truth of the matter

Well, the truth of the matter is parents should set and enforce a reasonable curfew of their own. The school system already has to parent these children, now it is up to the police to do it as well..

christian134
1
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christian134 03/27/08 - 07:14 am
0
0
You are so right Augusta

You are so right Augusta Voter...The writers of this law need to close the loopholes and then get down to business of enforcing curfew.....Frankly I am one person tired of loopholes...criminals know them like the back of their hand but normal law abiding citizens haven't a clue most times....

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/27/08 - 07:22 am
0
0
So many of the troubled teens

So many of the troubled teens have no parents or guardians. They're effectively street urchins. Parenting is a full time job, not an occasional comment when it's convenient for the "adult".

I4PUTT
5
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I4PUTT 03/27/08 - 07:37 am
0
0
bull has the answer...we will

bull has the answer...we will simply allow his daddy raise all these kids...problem solved.

I4PUTT
5
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I4PUTT 03/27/08 - 07:40 am
0
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chris..I love you man...but

chris..I love you man...but didn't you kinda take both sides against yourself in your 5:01 post...enjoy the coffee then post

tellmehow
0
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tellmehow 03/27/08 - 07:56 am
0
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When the police do catch

When the police do catch these teens out past curfew stop handing out fines and citations, haul their butts to jail and make the parents come get them. Then fine the parents. If you inconvenience these parents enough maybe they will finally step up and do something about their kids.

SB1308
0
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SB1308 03/27/08 - 08:00 am
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Coming from a Teen

Coming from a Teen perspective i think that a curfew isnt going to solve nothing ...Teens are going to do what they want to do , it dont matter if we have to be in the house by 11:00, 2:00, or even 9:00...And then if they shut all the clubs down all they gone do is find another spot to hang at...And another thing is that some parents dont even no that their kids are out ...My suggestion is to just enforce more polices at the teen clubs because thats all you can do unless you say we cant go no where at all.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 03/27/08 - 08:03 am
0
0
It is all a part of the

It is all a part of the growing socialist mind set of our society. It ain't my job it's the states. This is just like the text book analysis of societies throughout history. We are primed for socialism and most likely the communist kind.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 03/27/08 - 08:17 am
0
0
Why do teenagers need

Why do teenagers need clubs??????? Are we teaching them to be bar hoppers by having night clubs for young people? What is wrong with dinner, movies, etc? There has already been some gang problems at these types of places so why even have them for teenagers? We set curfews on our children, we don't wait for the sheriff or the school to do it, we tell them what time to be home and they better be home, simple as that

SoonerorLater
0
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SoonerorLater 03/27/08 - 08:49 am
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tellmehow, before I got to

tellmehow, before I got to your post I was thinking the EXACT same thing. Haul these kids to jail, get mom and/or dad to pick them up, and issue a citation to the parent and make it escalate with each offense. Hit them in the wallet and they will start policing up their kids when they realize how much money their lack of parental oversight is costing them.

lokalloudness
13
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lokalloudness 03/27/08 - 08:57 am
0
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Why do teens need clubs?

Why do teens need clubs? Your thought process is what continues to keep Augusta from moving forward. "Dinner, movie, etc."? How great would that be? Then teens could plan their week months in advance...school m-f, movie/dinner friday night, movie/dinner saturday night, church sunday. Teens constinetly need more than just a $10 movie and a burger to feed their need for growth and expression. Mrs. Cain obviously misses the days of teens ONLY going to the football game and out for a burger. What did teen do "in the old days" after football season? Oh that's right, congregate in parking lots up and down Washington Road. I'm sure Mrs. Cain is also one of those people who tells her snobby rich friends "don't go downtown it's a wasteland of crime and drug addicts." Fortunately for kids who enjoy going to Sector 7G, shows are usually done between 10:30 and 11:30 as it is so hats off to Nick Laws, a fine young man who owns a responsibly run establishment AND is still loved by all the kids who patronize Sector 7G. Better yet, maybe some adults need to parent their kids and stop looking for a government babysitter. Why not just lock them in their bedrooms on the weekends? Pathetic

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/27/08 - 09:09 am
0
0
Teens don't need clubs for

Teens don't need clubs for entertainment, these clubs invite trouble, that has already been proven. There were not clubs when I was a teen and although times they are a changin, they haven't changed so much that we have to send our teens to clubs for entertainment. Not having teen clubs is certainly not keeping augusta from moving forward. If we have to have clubs then the club owners need to be responsible for the hours they are open so that curfews are met....teen drivers have 1200 curfews for a reason.....also, 13 year olds don't need to hanging out at clubs with 17 and 18 year olds, there is already enough teen pregnancy. Saying that teens need a club to hang out in is like saying that teens are to narrow minded to find constructive forms of entertainment. Do parents need to be more involved sure they do but lets face it alot of them are not....

christian134
1
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christian134 03/27/08 - 09:16 am
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:-) 14PUTT Kinda sounded like

:-) 14PUTT Kinda sounded like it didn't it...:-) Point made was that both are needed if the curfew is to work as intended but the parents need to be held accountable first and foremost..then all else may follow...Have to go back to the "chock-full-of-nuts"coffee:-) plenty of chickory....

JustMe
0
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JustMe 03/27/08 - 09:30 am
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SB1308....you should be in

SB1308....you should be in the house doing your homework, your Engliash is terrible

JustMe
0
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JustMe 03/27/08 - 09:33 am
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and my typing is

and my typing is bad...ENGLISH lol

weekapaug05
0
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weekapaug05 03/27/08 - 10:22 am
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Lokal, I, like you probably,

Lokal, I, like you probably, spent my weekends down at the Ranch, and then the Capri when I was in my teens, which were run much more poorly than Sector 7G is. I think that people in the metal and punk culture are good (for the most part) about looking out for one another and just having some good old fashion fun letting off some steam. People were usually pretty respectful of one another for example if you get knocked over in a pit someone picks you up. And most fights that broke out were with a skinhead from time to time. It's funny how music creates subcultures, but it seems that gangster style rap breeds a culture of selfishness, vainity, and a lack of respect for those around you. Don't get me wrong I like hip-hop and rap but and I know that's not true across the board but I hear about shoot outs at hip-hop/rap/dance clubs all the time. The only shoot out I know about at a metal show was when Darrell Abbott was shot.

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 03/27/08 - 10:58 am
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SB1308, we appreciate your

SB1308, we appreciate your perspective, but your poor grasp of the English language hurts your argument.

Reality
3
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Reality 03/27/08 - 12:27 pm
0
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sb1308, Your post is why you

sb1308, Your post is why you shouldn't be hanging out at clubs. When was the last time you read a book or showed up at school (and listened)??

Mr_Chin
47
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Mr_Chin 03/27/08 - 01:11 pm
0
0
Why do teens have to go to a

Why do teens have to go to a club? Why not go to Church instead? The Lord accepts prayer and fellowship at all times - what better way to spend the night than taking time to be with our Lord?! That is why there are so many problems with the youth. What better 'dance' partner than the Lord?

armywife1
0
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armywife1 03/27/08 - 01:22 pm
0
0
Why can`t teens do both - go

Why can`t teens do both - go to the teen club and go to church. And what makes it a problem with the youth if they want to go to a club? This "bible belt country" sure does have a lot of stigmas.

lokalloudness
13
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lokalloudness 03/27/08 - 01:28 pm
0
0
First off I suppose that if

First off I suppose that if we were talking about a "Christian Teen Club, well we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place. And to the statement: "Saying that teens need a club to hang out in is like saying that teens are to narrow minded to find constructive forms of entertainment." On the other hand saying that we should ban teen clubs to narrow down a youths entertainment options is pretty much saying that teens are too narrow-minded to choose from a mulitude of options. When my daughter was in her mid-teens she went to teen band shows but I was always there until she became old enough and earned the trust to go on her own. She is now married and doing just fine. Many parents lecture their kids on learning responsibility without taking responsibility for their own kids hence the need to ask the government to "babysit" their children. The responsibility a parent instills in a teenager that is old enough to start being responsible is what prepares them for future endevours such as college. Not doing so just welcomes a child to dive head first into a college or adult lifestyle of overindulgence. Why should clubs be inforcing a curfew when it's a parents job?

cobweb
0
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cobweb 03/27/08 - 02:10 pm
0
0
When I was a teen you

When I was a teen you couldn't get into a club without photo ID showing that you were at least 18. That is the way it should be. A club at midnight is not an appropriate environment for a minor.

lokalloudness
13
Points
lokalloudness 03/27/08 - 03:04 pm
0
0
And while I would personally

And while I would personally agree with you that someone under 18 should probably be home by midnight, I have no issue with an 18, 19, or 20 year old being in an alcohol free environment at midnight. Take a trip to Athens or Statesboro sometime, even mid-week and just take a look at how many minors are hanging out in 18 and over bars that DO serve alcohol. I went recently on a tuesday night and the bars were packed with students between the ages 18-20. Only being allowed in establishments in Augusta at midnight that DO NOT serve alcohol is far less harmful then what they will eventual face away at college. Teach them to make proper judgements now and they will make the right one's later as in off at college. You cannot accomplish that by locking them away from the world. That will only leave them unprepared for it. You can only learn responsibility by being given resonsibility not by being coddled and bottle fed. Curfew issue? Augusta has it easy. Now if parents would just make their OWN curfew and enforce it...NAH! Too easy to just let the City Government take care of the kids.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 03/27/08 - 04:17 pm
0
0
"...(T)eens are going to do

"...(T)eens are going to do what they want to do...." We'll see.

isitme
0
Points
isitme 03/27/08 - 04:19 pm
0
0
I knew the state said that

I knew the state said that licensed drivers under 18 had to be off the road by midnight, but I had no idea there was a local ordinance until all this came up about the teen clubs! I have a 19 year old and 17 year old and seriously, this is the first I heard of this! Maybe they could advertise it a bit more before we start "hauling them off to jail". I hardly think a 16 year old watching a movie at his friend's house until midnight on a weekday, when there is no school the next day, is posing a threat to the security of the community. Let's all take a deep breath and calm down...

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 03/27/08 - 09:52 pm
0
0
Any of you over the age

Any of you over the age thirty probably never had to endure community curfews-that was the parents job. Crap like this would have caused a rebellion in my day. You kids want to start one this ole guy will help. Treating teenagers like irresponsible criminals will likely breed irresponsible teenagers. Let em grow up and learn. You would think we are breeding a society of juvenile delinquents and mindless drones. When I was 18 I was a grown man. Old enough to go fight in a war and dang sure old enough to stay out as long as I wanted. Stand up teenagers and don't take this crap. Try a little civil disobedience. And people accuse the Patriot Act of stealing liberties and freedom. Dang. I didn't realize I was living in a "nanny community" with a bunch of nannies telling parents when your child has to be at home. I enforced my own curfew with my kids. Things like this work best at the local level-at home.

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