Belmont Middle School students, evoking memories of a past era of protests by young people, held their own rally at Stowe Park on January 15. A peaceful protest rally seeking to be heard in the town-wide discussion of behavior in the park and downtown area.
Spurred on by a growing animosity between hundreds of adolescents in the downtown area immediately after school and downtown merchants, Belmont police addressed all the parents via a letter.
The word got out that the city wanted the park emptied of young teens and that the kids were ‘banned from the park”.
As the BannerNews reported, albeit delayed by its posting on this site, the students were not “banned”, but were definitely given the message to “go elsewhere”.
Parks and Recreation opinion — set up surveillance systems to track troublemakers — not a good option.
Downtown Merchants opinion — get them out, or get them supervised — not particularly good, but better.
Belmont Police — we need more officers, we need more money — SOP response, also not productive.
Gaston County Schools’ — once the students leave our campus, they are no longer our responsibility — oooh-kaay, how productive is that?
The kids took matters into their own hands, and, voila’, a meeting occurs on January 16.
Way to go Teens!
We still stand by our original opinion, that all the groups need to dialogue/plan better afterschool options so that “bad apples” don’t spoil the adolescent need to “hang out” in public areas — and feel safe while growing up.
It does require the entire community to monitor. It does require individual families with children in this age group and school group to have open communication and supervision of the kids. It does require cooperation.