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Parental Responsibility Law holding parents accountable for kids actions

NORTH COLLEGE HILL, Ohio (Paula Toti) -- A first-of-its-kind law in the tri-state puts parents on notice.

The city council in North College Hill recently passed a "Parental Responsibility Ordinance" that can get a parent in trouble if a child breaks the law.  It's aimed at curfew violations.  But as local 12's Paula Toti found out, it doesn't stop there. 

If you ask the Police Chief in North College Hill, he'll tell you there's been an escalation in juvenile crimes in his city in recent years.  Chief Gary Foust also thinks there's been a breakdown in some homes and he's hoping to use the law to help with that.
   
Mother of three Emily Jobe thinks making parents legally responsible for their kids' actions is a good idea.  She even says it's needed.  She sees kids break curfew all the time and cause trouble at the store where she works.

Jobe tells Paula Toti, "And you'll see the police chasing them and they go on to the next place and the next and the next."

Police want to send a message of zero tolerance on curfew.  And now if a child is on the street after curfew parents will immediately be put on notice.  This ordinance was passed as an emergency ordinance.  While the Chief says he's not sure how it will work, he says it can't hurt.  It gives them a tool in code enforcement.

A tool that gives parents a written warning if they know about a child's crime or don't act responsibly to prevent a crime.  A second offense can get a parent a 150-dollar fine.  And then it escalates to even a third degree misdemeanor if there are more violations.  The city wants to cut down on drug and weapons possession as well as the street fights.

The chief is after those parents who still won't care especially.  A few repeat offenders cause a lot of the problems.  He says the ordinance wasn't the result of the tragic beating of a man in 2012 by a group of teens who described themselves as bored.  But he does worry crimes escalate in summer.
   
The Police Chief and City Prosecutor drafted the new ordinance.  The Chief says officers will have wide discretion enforcing it.  He stresses parents who are unaware of a problem and take proper steps to know the whereabouts of their kids will not be in trouble with the law.



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