The ACLU and officials in Cedar Rapids, Iowa are at odds about just how much responsibility parents have over their minor children.    Cedar Rapids is in process toward passing an ordinance which will require parents to attend classes or pay fines if they fail to control minor children or, as is sometimes the case, attempt to hide the child’s crime or shield them from the criminal justice system.

Enter the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, which has sent a letter urging the Cedar Rapids Police Chief to re-consider support of this ordinance.  Randall Wilson, ICLU Legal Director, states that laws are already in place to hold parents accountable.  He feels that such an ordinance takes the primary blame away from the juvenile.  The ICLU is also concerned about the financial burden fines would place on parents.

Cedar Rapids City Council member Chuck Wieneke believes that the proposed ordinance will get parents’ attention in cases of children who have been involved with the criminal justice system numerous times.

A good portion of juveniles who enter the criminal justice system are poorly parented and poorly supervised.  This ordinance would hold Cedar Rapids parents accountable in a new way for their children’s illegal behavior.  Anyone who works within law enforcement in any capacity can attest to the difficulty in rehabilitating juvenile offenders without strong parental support.  If parents are not responsible for their own minor children’s behavior while living under their own roof, who is?

That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Hold parents accountable through classes and fines or not, let me know in your comments.

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