Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jailing Parents For Teen Trouble

One of the recurring themes on my KMOX show is parental responsibility. Today, I talked with Bob Shockey, the police chief in Arnold (MO), which just implemented a new ordinance that would make parents legally responsible for criminal actions by their children.

The chief explained that this wouldn't be for first offenders, but for repeat offenders who are causing trouble in spots like the block around the Arnold 14 Cine, where dozens of teenagers are dropped off by parents on Friday and Saturday evenings. Some of those kids aren't going to the movie, but instead hang out and cause trouble for nearby businesses. When the police pick up those kids and call their parents, the response from home is often one of disinterest and certainly no desire to discipline their son or daughter.

Under this new ordinance, those parents could be cited and fined up to $500 or jailed for up to 90 days. The question is whether punishing the parents will have any impact on the actions of their offspring. Listen.