Roanoke City Council hosts first public hearing on enforcing curfew for kids

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:51 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City Council hosted the first of two public hearings Tuesday about enforcing the city’s current curfew for kids 16-years-old and younger.

A handful of community members came out for the meeting and six spoke, with mixed emotions about changes to the curfew.

“If it saves one child, we should do the curfew,” said Darnell Wood.

“Having a curfew is a tricky situation because some kids don’t deserve it and those kids who don’t deserve it are from all walks of life. But if you want to give a curfew to somebody, give curfew to the kids or the grownups; that’s already on paper, you already have them labeled, give it to them,” said Adrian Davis.

Section 21-5 states anyone 16 years old and younger may not be out in the city without an adult between the hours of 11 p.m. and midnight Sunday through Thursday and between midnight and 5 a.m. any day of the week, with some exceptions.

Council is wanting to hear feedback on expanding these hours, or adding restrictions or more enforcement.

“We want to look at the hours to make sure the hours are there, we want to identify what are some of the things that we’re going to do? Are we just going to work with youth who are out violating that and let their parents know? Are there any punitive actions that’s going to be taken? All those things are on the table right now,” said Mayor Sherman Lea.

Some feel more needs to be done at home.

“Everybody on the outside is working to protect our city, but the parents and guardians need to do something as well,” said Janis Wade.

Mayor Lea said he is in favor of enforcing a curfew.

“My thing is protect all of our young people. And that’s what we plan to do. And hopefully, we’ll be able to make some decisions that people can live with.”

Community members in attendance called on the City to do better to get the word out about the March 30 meeting at Patrick Henry High School and Mayor Lea said they will. Lea added they expect to bring everything to a vote sometime in April or May at the latest.