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Arkansas Law Would Put Parents in Stockade

August 9, 1989

DERMOTT, Ark. (AP) _ Parents who fail to rein in their kids could be displayed in a public stockade under a city law that also sets a curfew for teen-agers.

″Until we introduce shame back in crime and punishment, we’re spinning our wheels,″ City Attorney Charles Sidney Gibson said.

The ordinance approved unanimously by the City Council on Monday was in response to a street fight Saturday night and an overall increase in crime during the summer in Dermott, a town of about 5,000 people.

The fight involved about six youths and adults, and drew some 250 onlookers, Police Chief Jerry Melton said.

The ordinance calls for delinquent parents to be fined up to $500 and jailed up to 30 days, ″within stockaded public display six hours a day″ during certain days of the sentence.

Gibson said he was unsure about the constitutionality of using a stockade. Mayor Eugene Farrell said he doubted it would occur because the city has no stockade.

Parents who fail to abide by the new ordinance may also have their photograph placed in the local weekly newspaper for two weeks with a caption reading ″Irresponsible Parent.″

Gibson said but the burden of keeping youths out of trouble is on the parents.

The ordinance calls for curfew for those younger than 18 from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Parents who can’t control their children can sign a statement to that effect, in which case the minors will be considered delinquent and have their fate decided by the juvenile courts. Those parents will have to pay the city $100 for each minor so designated or render 20 hours of community service.

The parents also would be required to display a bumper sticker on their vehicle saying: ″My children are not my responsibility. They are yours.″

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