Cedar Rapids exploring fines for parents whose kids break law - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids exploring fines for parents whose kids break the law


Alothina Jackson of Cedar Rapids has made it a part of her routine to walk her two boys home from school.

"I don't let them get into trouble or anything because I'm always here," Jackson said.

Jackson says when she found out her boys were hanging around a classmate accused of vandalizing school property, she stepped in and intervened.

Police are hoping more parents take an active role like Jackson does, and help keep their kids from breaking the law.

"We've got great kids and great parents, but we do have a lot of frequent flyer kids that we're constantly dealing with," said Cedar Rapids Police Chief Greg Graham.

Graham is working to help write an ordinance that holds parents accountable if their kids repeatedly are in legal trouble.

The new ordinance is modeled after something similar in Davenport & Dubuque. 

Under the plan, parents would get a warning for a child's first offense, a slightly steeper undetermined penalty for a second offense, and a fine for a third offense.

"We're just trying to look at every way possible to get parents more involved in their kids' lives," Graham said.

 Mike Merritt, a father to a two-year old, thinks the proposal goes a step too far.

"You take your accountability for your own actions.  No one can take them for you," Merritt said.

Still many others we spoke with think an ordinance would help parents keep their kids out of trouble.

"A lot of times they don't know what their kids are doing. It would help keep them more involved," said Cheri Daws of Cedar Rapids.

City leaders will work on drawing the ordinance up at a meeting on Friday.

The proposal would have to be approved by the city council.

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