MARYLAND

Leggett scales back plan for Montgomery County teen curfew

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A flash mob attack helped fuel a discussion over a curfew for teenagers in Montgomery County.

County Executive Ike Leggett, a major backer of the plan, on Friday said he's willing to ease some of the punishments.

A few teens remained out Friday night. While the county says the curfew would increase safety, these teens fear it could mess with their leisure plans.

“The one thing I'll probably miss is having late night skate sessions,” said 17-year-old Alexander Terc.

Terc and his friends like to stay out late at night, skateboarding or playing music. Since some of them haven't turned 18, they may not get to do that anymore.

“I think it's kind of stupid or ridiculous,” said Kevin Nhan, also 17.

The county wants to impose a youth curfew of 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. If teens are caught outside later, the penalty would be $100.

That is scaled back the original proposal. The latest version would allow youth to go to see late night movies and concerts and would not require adults to take parenting classes if their kid breaks the law, as originally planned.

“I mean parenting classes have some use at some level but that seems a little extreme,” said parent Celeste James.

County Executive Leggett says it will make the community safer, pointing to a brawl involving 70 youths in Silver Spring in July and a recent group robbery at a Germantown 7-eleven.

“This is not a panacea for all the challenges that we face but its one tool that our law enforcement can utilize,” Leggett said.

While these teens say it could keep some out of trouble, it could also have unintended consequences. “It could prevent some but it could also create a lot of mistrust between cops and teens. There's already that divide between them,” Jacob Gottlieb said.

Teens like Gottlieb and Ryan Itzel don’t want to be thrown in with rabble-rousers like the ones who recently robbed a store in a large group.

“We come out here and do ministry; sharing the gospel of Christ on the streets,” 16-year-old Itzel said.

A council committee will discuss the curfew on September 15th.

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