DANVILLE (WSLS 10) – Kids and teens hanging out on the streets until 1 or 2 a.m. has gotten out of control, according to Jessica Griffith.
She spoke at Tuesday night’s city council meeting on behalf of several parents like herself who are concerned for the safety of children in the city, including their own children.
“Not just myself, but other parents would like to see a curfew change during the school year, which would be 9 or 10 o’ clock,” Griffith said.
She believes that would encourage parents to get their children inside earlier and that would ultimately lead to better performance in school and possibly even help curb the high number of discipline issues.
“Teachers who have said ‘yes, that this is a problem. Because when they come to school, you can clearly see that they didn’t go to sleep at night, they’ve probably been hanging out.’ Some of them will admit that they’ve been hanging out,” Griffith explained.
She also believes that getting children in earlier would reduce the chance of them getting caught in the ongoing violent crime in the city.
The police department echoes Griffith, emphasizing that a curfew is designed to help keep children safe and it does work.
“It has actually helped us keep juveniles safe,” said Danville Police Department Lt. Mike Wallace. “It gives us more of a resource to be able to do that, so it has been positive.”
But, changing the curfew is just the first step.
The more important step is getting the community to recognize the importance of the curfew and help enforce it.
Something Vice Mayor Alonzo Jones is quick to point out.
“We have to get the ministerial alliance involved, we have to get the PTA involved, we have to get parents involved,” Jones said.
He added that citizens like Griffith standing up and taking action is what the community needs in order to see this effort through.
“Everybody thinks you have to be an elected official, a police officer, or a teacher [to get something done], but we need everybody,” continued Jones.
Constance Covington runs the youth center at the Cardinal Village Housing Community and is working to help get the community involved.
Like Griffith and Jones, she believes an earlier curfew would be beneficial and hopes that Griffith’s speaking at city council will be the spark that ignites the fire.
“Now that it has gone before city council, we need to address it and just move on,” Covington said.
No official action was taken at the council meeting, meaning that for the time being, the current curfew will remain in place.