The Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved new curfew hours for unaccompanied minors under 16 on Wednesday night.
According to the ordinance, the curfew hours will be enforced from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday in Fulton County. The ordinance amended the original curfew, which began at 11 p.m. and applied to anyone under 17.
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The curfew only applies to area of unincorporated Fulton County, but board members say it is a step in the right direction and could serve as a model for the county’s 15 cities.
“We’ve got to do something and not just sit up and say how bad crime is,” Commissioner Khaijah Abdur-Rahman said during the meeting. “It takes a village, and this incorporated some of the village aspects.”
Abdur-Rahman said that enforcing the new curfew will help parents keep track of their children and keep them safe.
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Commissioner Natalie Hall expressed her concerns about changing the curfew hours, saying it may negatively affect extracurricular activities that keep children out of trouble.
“We may be doing a disservice by shortening the hours,” she said during the discussion. “The time already on it is correct because activities like midnight basketball keep kids off the streets and keeps them doing something productive while their parents are at work.”
The commissioners agreed that activities such as sporting, religious, or educational events that end past 8 p.m. would be except for the curfew due to promoting a positive environment for teens.
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While the curfew only covers unincorporated Fulton County, it could be used as guidance for the county’s 15 cities if they choose to change their curfew.
In November, Atlanta City Council Member Keisha Sean Waites proposed a change to the curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the City of Atlanta. The proposal followed the gang-related shooting of 12-year-old Zyion Charles and 15-year-old Cameron Jackson near Atlantic Station.
Waites praised the Commissioners for approving the curfew legislation.
“In Atlanta, I am open to a 10 p.m. curfew, and I look forward to collaborating with the mayor and City Council on the remaining provisions to get this youth safety measure passed,” Waites said. “While our proposed resolution does offer exceptions for students who are working or participating in school activities, we can’t kick the can on this. We are in crisis mode. I have received hundreds of emails, texts, and phone calls supporting a curfew of 8 p.m. If we had a curfew in place two weeks ago and enforced it, we may have saved the life of Deshon, another 13-year-old life lost to gun violence.”
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