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Friday, Oct. 21, 2016

Slater teens join city officials to address vandalism problem

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There was plenty of other business on the agenda, but the main focus of the Slater City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 17, was vandalism in city parks.

Mayor Stephen Allegri passed around photographs of the most recent incident, which occurred some time over the weekend of Sept. 13-14, again to Kiddie Park bathrooms. This time, the damage was more permanent -- extensive spray-painting of gang-related graffiti and foul language.

Among the possible solutions being considered for dealing with the problem is a proposal to lock up the parks and the bathrooms after 10:30 p.m., a step the council is reluctant to take.

Slater has had a 10:30 p.m. curfew for children aged 17 or younger for at least 40 years.

After the August incident, Allegri invited local high school students to help with a solution. In response to his invitation, several students, accompanied by Superintendent of Schools John McEachern and Slater High School Principal Jim Audsley, were present at the council meeting.

Audsley said, "(Our students) are a great bunch of kids, but there are always a few that ruin it for the rest. We have a lot of kids who are willing to get involved in helping to solve the problem, and many more who wanted to be here tonight, but couldn't make it."

The student group was very vocal about their concerns, pointing out the "problem" kids are in the minority.

"We feel it's getting blamed on (all of) us," said one, "when it's really just a small group of kids."

Another student commented, "We want to be able to be at the park and just hang out. With the price of gas, we can't afford to be just riding around."

Among the suggestions the student group presented were to institute a "neighborhood watch," involving greater awareness among people who live near the park, and the possibility of involving older students in patrolling the area.

The student group also suggested letters be sent to all parents, sharing students' concerns and encouraging parents to talk to their children about the problem. When council members questioned whether parents would actually receive the letters, if they were sent home with students, the student group said the letters should be sent through the post office and then volunteered to write the letter themselves.

One student said the letters might not be effective in some cases, pointing out that "some parents just don't care" where their children are or what they're doing. And another student added, "(These kids) know where the cops are, and they're constantly out past curfew (anyway)."

Students also recommended a school assembly with participation by the mayor, the council and the police chief would also be effective.

When asked by Assistant City Administrator Gene Griffith if they felt a reward for information would be helpful, the students said a reward would probably make little difference.

"Our reward is being able to go back to the park and not be in trouble for something someone else did," one said, to the agreement of the rest of the group.

In other business, the council heard from Tim Reeder, president of the Slater RC Club, about their recent remote control "fly-in" at the airport.

"We were delighted with the turnout," Reeder said. "This event is not just 'boys and their toys.' The bleachers were full almost the whole day. We appreciate you letting us use the facility and we have wonderful plans for the future."

Don Ronnebaum, one of the fly-in organizers, said there were 57 pilots at the event and 109 planes "from Columbia, Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield -- all over the state. We got a lot of response about our beautiful field. It was a good event and next year it will be bigger and better yet."

The next regular meeting of the council will be held Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m.

Contact Kathy Fairchild at marshallhealth@socket.net

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I use to live in Independence and KC, and I would never wish a child to live on those streets. They need guidance and Slater needs programs for older kids, or a place for older kids to go. They have the Youth Center and the "Board of Directors" is under some odd conception that it is a place for older kids or that the children that go now will go when they mature but I guarantee those kids won't be caught dead there come a couple years. Don't get me wrong it is an amazing facility and a wonderful place for middle school kids and elementary kids. It offers dances and activities the kids love, but it's the KIDS that love them not the teenagers. I just wish they had SOMEWHERE. There used to be the bowling alley and the arcade but after that burned there's nothing. I think serious consideration should be taken into the future of the adolescence. Some of them are going nowhere, not all of them. I'm not grouping all of the kids together because I know there are some spectacular kids in Slater with very bright future. Like I said before the city shouldn't have to swallow the cost of installing cameras to protect their hard work and their city, BUT there needs to be place the older kids can go. I want to emphasize once more I am not criticizing the Youth Center or ALL of the kids in Slater, each have remarkable attributes.

-- Posted by jl32320 on Thu, Sep 25, 2008, at 2:31 PM

Heck Yes concrnedctzn your talking what I'm thinking. I grew up here and I'm dang proud of it. These kids and there so called parents need to hike a ride to KC or St louis and raise there kids on some real streets. Since these punks think they are something...

-- Posted by RedTruckRider on Thu, Sep 25, 2008, at 11:20 AM

I agree with what you are saying, I can only tell you that society will not keep me from spanking my children in public. If they need it, they get it. It is my decision, not anyone elses.

However, these particular children involved here have NO PARENTAL GUIDANCE. We are talking about parents that sit at home w/their dope friends, doing whatever they please. These children will take no structure because they've never been taught to. Get them off of the streets so the rest of the children can enjoy the town. I have no sympathy for these kids (teens), or their parents. As far as I'm concerned, get them all out of here.

-- Posted by concrnedctzn on Wed, Sep 24, 2008, at 2:40 PM

I have to say, society does have an influence and a say on how we raise our children. As stated in slatergrads comment years ago you could spank your child in public. Now if you are caught spanking your child in public OR behind closed doors you are reported for abuse. Also as slatergrad stated if your child is caught sealing the parents marched their child back into the store to return the item years ago, and the storekeeper would punish the child by having them help in the store to teach responsibility or lecture them and it was done. If you did that today, I guarantee the storekeeper would call the police and be done with the matter. Which in some cases should be done, but what will the child learn in the juvenile system? I know it is implemented to help teach the child right from wrong and help them, but worse habits will be picked up in the "system". Then society helps influence what our children are molded into and it's inevitably out of our hands as parents. We all care for our children and try to teach them right from wrong. I'm not criticizing or judging, this is just my opinion. I just think in society today, the parents aren't' the only ones with influences.

-- Posted by jl32320 on Tue, Sep 23, 2008, at 12:52 PM

Today's society does stop many parents from discipling thier children, however...it is not society that stops them from raising them. The parents of these children just do not care. I fully believe that it would be a relief to them if the children were caught and sent to 'juvie'. They wouldn't have to 'mess' with them at all then.

Society will not stop me from discipling my child. If they misbehave in public, they are disciplined in public. If in trouble at school, they are in trouble at home. These are my children, and I will do as I see fit. I will take the time to teach them right from wrong, and I know where they are at night. And, because I CARE, they aren't with the trash that is running around town doing this.

-- Posted by concrnedctzn on Tue, Sep 23, 2008, at 11:53 AM

Yes I am afraid in today's society we as parents have our hands tied due to laws that prevent you from disciplining your children. Staying involved in your child's life makes all the difference. When I was a child if you done something of this nature is was heck to pay at home. If you acted up in the store you were spanked on the spot. If you stole something you were marched back to the store and told the owner you stole it. hard old fashioned discipine is was is needed today. And it starts at HOME. I will guarentee if I should ever come across this type of behavior I would turn the child or adult in for this, and not be afraid to do so.

-- Posted by slatergrad on Mon, Sep 22, 2008, at 1:57 PM

I honestly don't think the city should be forced to swallow the cost of cameras; it shouldn't have to come to that. I agree the police department isn't to be blamed either. The people who should be held responsible are the parents, but don't let the kids off of the hook that easy. They are responsible for the decisions they make and they know the difference between right and wrong (even if the parents haven't instilled it in their heads). It's time these kids take full responsibility for their actions. They think they are adult enough to destroy and vandalize property, now they need to quit being quivering cowards and stand up and take the consequences. It makes me mad that the city puts so much time, effort, and money into renovating areas around town, just to see them destroyed. There has to be something that can be done, without making the city pay for it!

-- Posted by jl32320 on Fri, Sep 19, 2008, at 3:01 PM

I think that maybe one or two inexspensive cameras (incast in a indestructive box) would help to alleviate the problem. The cost of the cameras would offset the cost of repairing and or covering up the vandalism. I have a young child who enjoys the park and should in no way be subjected to the profanity that these individuals feel the need to spray paint.

-- Posted by gemini7190 on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 10:22 AM

No, I do not mean that the police department only care about a select few. That is not what I meant at all.

What I meant was that I hope that someone catches them in the act and puts the 'fear of God' in them.

I wish no violence upon them, I wish justice to be served to them.

I am in no way blaming the police. I lay all blame on the parents.

-- Posted by concrnedctzn on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 8:23 AM

I certainly hope when you say "wrong persons"property that you are not implying that the police department only cares about a select few. The problem is not the police its the justice system. We live in a society where kids are allowed to get away with any thing. the police department is just as aggrivated as you are if not more. The problem is the Laws actually tie there hand with what they are not allowed to do. Now kids are starting to realize this and they run around with an " Im Invincible" attitude. they have no respect for any one expecially law enforcement. it dosent help that there are parents who actually raise there kids to defy the police. (mommy and daddy didnt like that they got caught breaking the law. It wasnt our fault it was the bad bad police man).It also doesnt help that people dont disapline they're kids any more either. every ones afraid they will get charged with abuse. Im not saying beat your kid with a rubber hose. but come on spanking is still legal and if you do it early enough they learn.

its 2008 people kids are burglarizing, vandalizing, and even killing(school shootings?)maybe instead of complaining about what the police aren't doing you should get ahold of your congressman and find out what you can do to help untie law enforcements hands.

-- Posted by BigPoppi on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 11:12 PM

We can name names, we can contact parents...it doesn't make any difference. If these kids are put in Juvenile Hall for a week, maybe that will do it. They are all known around town. Apparently there is only so much you can do.

Maybe they'll eventually vandalize the 'wrong persons' property.

-- Posted by concrnedctzn on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 3:48 PM

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