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Arkansas City Revises Stockade Ordinance

August 22, 1989

DERMOTT, Ark. (AP) _ Parents of delinquents no longer face a stockade, but those who don’t keep their kids in line can still draw hefty fines and jail time.

The city council revised its 2-week-old ordinance Monday, leaving a provision that said parents of wayward youngsters could face up to 30 days in jail, but deleting the part that said two of those days could be spent on public display in a stockade.

The law didn’t define a stockade, the city doesn’t have one and the council didn’t vote the money to build one when it passed the law initially.

A provision in the earlier ordinance to publish photographs of parents of delinquents also was dropped, as was a requirement that such parents place bumper stickers on their cars identifying themselves as irresponsible.

It was time to revise the ordinance because it had done its job of calling attention to the problem of juvenile crime in this city of 4,500 with a seven- member police force, said City Attorney Charles Sidney Gibson.

But, he said, a tough ordinance was needed because, ″We’re going to have a dangerous situation here. We’re going to pull some kid in some night and he’ll be dead.″

The old ordinance was passed following a street fight that drew a crowd of 250 people and because of an overall increase in crime during the summer that Police Chief Jerry Melton said could be attributed mostly to juveniles.

Like the old ordinance, the revised version says parents will receive a warning the first time their children are caught violating an 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. curfew. The second time, parents will face up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine or 20 hours of community service.

Under the new ordinance, parents may not permit their children to possess drugs or permit their children to have firearms without parental supervision.

Some people at Monday’s meeting strongly objected to a provision saying parents cannot leave children under 12 unsupervised for more than an hour. But Gibson insisted that it would take only an hour to produce a potentially deadly situation.

Parents also objected to a part of the ordinance that prohibits gatherings of two or more minors ″with riotous conduct.″

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