Two local business women this week approached Sulphur Springs City Council regarding concerns of middle school-aged children being unsupervised downtown.
“We would like to approach y’all for a curfew for the children running downtown. It is out of control. My people sit outside at night and eat. The language of the 12- and 13-year-olds, and they’re running back and forth and fighting. It’s crazy,” said Dinky Weeks, Corner Grub House general manger of operations.
Lara Colby Magic Scoop owner-manger Lara Colby said youth often congregate in front of her business at night.
“There’s sometimes 20 kids out there, all discussing who’s going to fight whom. I know this because they come into my shop. We’ve had problems with theft with some of these young children,” Colby said.
Colby said the middle school aged children are dropped off and left unsupervised downtown, even after her business closes at 10 p.m.; some even are seen running around in the back alley.
The youth are out every Friday and Saturday night, and were downtown every night during the Thanksgiving break from school. Being unsupervised enables the youth “to make really bad decisions. They’re really good kids, but they aren’t being supervised, Colby said.
Weeks noted the kids knock trash cans over, which business personnel have to pick up. Colby said the kids also are known to be in the alley
There is an officer on patrol downtown two nights a week, but they are limited in the actions they are able to take, Weeks told the City Council during public forum at the Dec. 3 meeting.
“One policeman can only do so much, and they have to have right to be able to do something. They can’t just go up to them and tell them, ‘Hey, look don’t do that, you can’t do that,” every single time they’re down there. After the first time, they need to have something that they can fall back on,” Weeks told the council.
Colby said allowing the children to be left unsupervised downtown is not only not good for the children, it’s also not a good representation of Sulphur Springs.
Colby asked the council to consider implementing some kind of curfew which would curtail unsupervised children after hours downtown. She suggested perhaps requiring children to present identification, and those who couldn’t wouldn’t be allowed to be out past a certain time. The curfew would be for younger children, not 15 and 16-year-old, who she said could be trusted.
“We just need ideas. All we’re asking is help with the situation, the kids that don’t any parental supervision,” Weeks said.
City Attorney Jim McLeroy told the business women while the City Council couldn’t discuss the matter with them during public forum, he could say that the matter would be address in January.
“I’ll have something in the January agenda to begin addressing this. We can address this. This is something we can address and we can enforce,” McLeroy said.
McLeroy shared information on what he anticipates the proposed ordinance will entail with KSST. Read about it here.