Jerry Blumenthal says it’s time for parents to be held accountable if their kids are getting into trouble late at night and causing vandalism, with the councillor for Halifax North End going as far to suggest putting moms and dads behind bars.
“Make the parents responsible,” Blumenthal told Metro yesterday. “If they can’t pay financially, then put them in jail."
“We have to do something,” he added.
Blumenthal is upset after vandals allegedly torched one section of playground equipment at St. Stephen's Elementary School on Highland Avenue in his district over the weekend. The incident took place before 11 p.m. Saturday and resulted in about $100,000 in damages to the $200,000 playground that was built last year. Insurance is expected to cover the cost to repair the damage.
Blumenthal believes a group of junior high schoolers are behind the incident, and says kids in that age bracket also vandalized tarps behind Highland Park the next night.
These weekend incidents have Blumenthal calling for a curfew on kids under 16 after 10 p.m. He’s also hosting a community meeting Friday with Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie, Halifax Needham MLA Maureen MacDonald and representatives from Halifax Regional Police to talk about getting kids off the street late at night.
The meeting will take place at St. Margaret of Scotland Church on Robie Street at 7 p.m.
“Maybe the three of us can come up with some type of program – making parents responsible,” Blumenthal said.
“It’s not (just) my area. It’s a lot of areas,” he added. “If you know me - I take these things very personally. Maybe it’s my weakness in life, but that’s it.”
Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter said yesterday they’re in the early stages of their investigation into Saturday’s incident, and said anyone who saw something around the area between 9 and 11 p.m. are asked to contact police.
He also emphasized any vandalism – big or small – needs to be reported to police so they can keep track of where it’s happening and respond accordingly.