South Fulton parental responsibility law won’t be heard next week

Some community members say they have a better option -- a program to help kids who have gone down the wrong path.

A controversial City of South Fulton proposal that could send parents to jail for their children's crimes will not get a vote next week, as was scheduled, said the councilwoman who sponsored the legislation.

The law was to be voted on on Tuesday. But Councilwoman Helen Zenobia Willis, in the new city of South Fulton, said she would take it off the agenda until a new police chief is in place.

South Fulton is scheduled to bring officers over from Fulton County police beginning March 26.

The proposed ordinance would give parents and children access to diversion programs or other help after a first offense. If there’s a second offense, or parents don’t participate in diversion programs, parents could be jailed for up to 10 days, or fined up to $100.

Willis said she is holding the ordinance because it would need to be enforced, and she wants the new police chief and South Fulton’s city manager on board.

“The ordinance is not going anywhere,” she said. “It’s going to require coordination.”

Willis said she has support from residents for the proposal. Indeed, some have said they are in favor of it. Others have questioned whether well-meaning parents should be punished for their children's actions and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he thought the proposal could be unconstitutional.

Other governments across the country have similar laws, and Willis said DeKalb County’s has recently been used.

“I can’t see a police chief saying it’s not enforceable,” she said.


The AJC's Arielle Kass keeps you updated on the latest happenings in Fulton County government and politics. You'll find more on, including these stories:

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