Age and Hour Restrictions at Coolidge

By: Bridget Varley

CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/ The Loop) – Chattanooga has recently altered the hours a minor can be in the ever popular Northshore area during the evenings.

The city council of Chattanooga voted 7- 2 on a rule restricting minors that are not accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult 21 and older from being in Coolidge Park from the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The decision was made after several incidents in the park involving with minors have occurred. Last March, an arrest of five young people  in a shooting incident left some shot in the legs and three arrested.

The most recent happened just a few weeks ago. On March 19, police responded to a call where 300 teenagers were present in the park while shots were fired. Sgt. Rick Mincy told the Chattanooga Times Free Press “unsupervised teens hang out in the park often.”

Cliff Hightower in his March 29th article of The Times Free Press wrote, “The obvious goal is to reduce delinquency and restore the confidence of local residents and tourists, so they may visit the park without fear that violence will break out.”

Though some believe the hour and age restriction will improve the safety in the park, Council member Russell Gilbert feels that if one park is instating these rules the rest should as well.

Mayor Littlefield said that because Chattanooga is about to enter into the season where events take place each weekend at the park a message needs to be sent to parents to be responsible for their children.

If underage individuals are found in the park past the posted hours Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said it would be the “officer’s discretion” on whether a minor is picked up and taken to the juvenile detention facility. If the minors are found in the park the officer can take them to a holding center in St. Elmo where they can eat and hang out until their parents come to get them. Officers Vinson and Moody said that they do not really agree with rule because if underage children are causing trouble in one place they will do it in another. Listen to the Council’s decision

According to the Times Free Press if the minors do not seem to be doing anything wrong it is unlikely that police will approach them. However, because of some teenagers causing issues in Coolidge all of those under 21 are receiving the punishment.

Chattanooga Youths Voice Will Be Heard

By Bryson Simpson

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) — Brainerd High school Peer Mentoring Group is promoting change in the city. The Brainerd High schoolPeer Mentoring Group consists of 100 students, 40 of the students are mentors and the other 60 are mentees. Several members came to the city council meeting April 5 to speak on the problem that teens and kids are facing in Chattanooga. To see the agenda click here

The objective of Brainerd High school Peer Mentoring Group is to keep the teenagers and kids from doing negative activities in the streets of Chattanooga. They planned to do this by asking the City Council to toughen up on the curfew given to the Chattanooga youth.

Brainerd High school Students

Student Vice President, Alexis Moore, asked the council could they start cracking down and enforce the curfew so that children will be safe and stay out of trouble. She even asked the council for the curfew to be changed if violence doesn’t decrease. “We are asking the curfew to be earlier if the violence continues,” Moore said.

The Curfew now is 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, Children can play an hour longer on Friday and Saturday nights but “something needs to be done if the problem consists.” Janelle Tongue, who also represented the Mentoring Group, said, “ Even though we are teens we still have a voice.”

Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group also came up with some ideas that they will do to help keep kids off the streets and doing positive things for the community.

Cordell Paruchuii proposed the idea of having a “Summer Job for the Youth program” where they will take kids throughout the Chattanooga area and have them working at boys and girls clubs or summer camps. “Its something productive that the youth can do besides being in the streets.”

Another program that the Peer Mentoring Group proposed during the city council meeting was “Guns Anonymous” where people can donate guns and will not receive any punishment or be asked any questions. Also, Kellie Moore wanted the council to allow authorities to search people, especially minors. Listen to the Mentoring Peer Group  Brainerd High School City Council

In conclusion, the students showed leadership and courage by showing up to the city council meeting so that a positive change will happen in the community. Dominique Green, Brainerd High School Senior, said “We have to come together as a community   so we can have change.”