Parents find problems with Aiken curfew

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, May 1, 2008

AIKEN, S.C.---Some members of the Aiken City Council want a curfew to keep kids out of trouble. They have a plan to keep them off the streets, but some say it goes too far.

Angela Lloyd says she doesn't need a city-wide curfew for her 13- and 14-year old children. She has one in place for them herself.

"They know to be here way before it gets dark," Lloyd said.

But she does support a curfew for all kids sixteen and under for the safety of the community.

"It's all kinds of stuff out there, not just drugs, sex offenders, all kinds of stuff," she said.

The Aiken City Council is considering the city-wide curfew.

Under it, kids under seventeen would have to be off the streets by eleven at night on school nights. On weekends and also during the summer, the curfew would extend to midnight.

Although Lloyd supports it, she does worry about one thing.

"Is it a black or white thing, you know, what's going on," she said.

She fears there is some prejudice behind the curfew. Although the curfew would apply to the whole city of Aiken, she thinks some areas would be enforced more than others.

"It's focused on the north side, you know, certain areas, Crosland Park, Hampton Park, you know those areas," she said.

She's not the only one with concerns. That's why some council members wanted to get everything out on the table in an informal meeting. Council member Beverly Clyburn says there is no prejudice behind it.

"The ordinance does not specify that it would be in just the northern part of Aiken. The ordinance is going to be city-wide and I would expect public safety to work it city-wide," Clyburn said.

Even still, Lloyd has her doubts about what may happen if the curfew is passed.

"It's not just focusing on the blacks, but it seems like that's what it is," she said.

The mother still backs the curfew. She just hopes if it's passed, the main goal will be to keep the entire community safe.

Another concern people had at the meeting was that it is only enforceable in city limits. Some say the city and the county should work together to make it across the county.

Willar Hightower of the county council plans to talk to the other members about it.

The city council hopes to have a final decision on the curfew in June.

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