Alderman raises ideas to fight crime

Published 6:50 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Concerns about crime and youth activity have prompted one cityofficial to raise the possibility of a dress code the city’s schooldistrict, an ordinance to ban “saggy” pants and even acurfew.

Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates briefly discussed his ideas duringTuesday night’s board of aldermen meeting. Bates discussed schooland neighborhood issues with Brookhaven School District AssistantSuperintendent James Tillman outside Alexander Jr. High SchoolTuesday and informed fellow aldermen of their meeting lastnight.

Bates said he and Tillman spoke about the need for school uniformsdue to the way he sees a lot of students dress, which includesbaggy pants.

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“I’ve seen enough of that and it seems like it’s getting worse,”said Bates.

Bates added that a school uniform would help build character.

“It will follow them throughout their lives,” said Bates. “It’s atraining process.”

Bates also brought up the notion of a curfew for minors to helpkeep the neighborhoods safe, which he added was not the sole dutyof law enforcement.

“Parents have to be more responsible for their kids,” saidBates.

Bates added that it was unsafe for children to be walking aroundthe city at all hours of the night.

Bates said the curfew could be lenient, but allow for a way toaddress children that are out late and walking around the cityduring school hours.

“It’s not to put your foot down on kids,” said Bates.

Community issues were at the top of Bates’ list after attending apeace rally in front of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County GovernmentComplex Sunday.

Bates said roughly 400 citizens attended the rally, which he saidreceived strong support from Brookhaven’s youth. The event includedseveral guest speakers including Jackson city councilman KennethStokes and Charles Evers, the first elected African-American mayorin the state.

Bates said the youth were asking for more things that they can doand wanted to have more gatherings on a regular basis. Bates addedthat the youth was also concerned with the direction the city washeaded.

Bates also told the board that some parents might not want theirchildren to be disciplined through city regulations, but they wouldbe the first to turn to the city for help at signs oftrouble.

Continuing, Bates urged the city to take care of the city in alldirections – north, south, east and west.

“If we pass a law, we’ll have to put our foot down,” saidBates.

Bates thinks city officials are doing a great job, but it will takea collaborative effort from the neighborhood to keep Brookhavenheaded in the proper direction.

“We need to take care of our community, we need to take care of ourcity,” said Bates. “We’ll get a little shakeup now and again, butwe’ll know we are doing something right.”