Parental responsibility law being considered

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    WARWICK-Skateboarders beware—skateboarding in the Village of Warwick will be significantly restricted if a local law is passed by the Village Board. The board is considering a law that would prohibit skateboards and inline skates on certain streets and sidewalks in the village. The proposal did not specify which streets would be included in the ban. Operating skateboards and skates on any street or sidewalk in a reckless manner is prohibited throughout the village. The penalty for any violation would be a fine up to $500 and forfeiting the skates or board. Trustee Bill Iurato said he wanted all streets to be included, basically banning skateboarding and skating everywhere in the village except for the skatepark at Veteran's Memorial Park. Fellow trustee George McManus disagreed with that, saying that skating in particular is no different than jogging or bicycling. "You can't say it's okay for joggers and bicyclists to use the streets but not skaters and boarders," McManus said. "You can't tell people they can't exercise on the village streets." He said that skating is a form of exercise, no different than running. Mayor Michael Newhard thinks all streets should be included in the law but only those operating in a "reckless manner" will be prosecuted. The purpose of the law is to try and prevent people from injury and also to protect drivers. If charged with this violation, the judge will set the fine. There is no jail time, according to the village attorney, Michael Meth, and the penalty is the same for the first offense and any subsequent one. The board is also discussing a parental responsibility law, which spells out what parents are responsible for with their children under age 18. It states that the parent will have "failed to exercise proper parental responsibility" if the child commits certain acts, such as trespassing, defacing or destroying public or private property, mugging, assault and battery, consuming alcohol, public intoxication, soliciting or panhandling, littering, loitering, making offensive or insulting remarks in a public place, making loud noises that annoy or disturb others, and stealing. Parents will receive a written notice from the police for the first offense. After that, if the child violates the village law, the parent or legal guardian is held responsible and can be fined up to $250 for each offense. "It is all spelled out here," said Meth. "There is nothing gray. Parents can be responsible for restitution and the fine." Trustee Stephen Pascal, who is also the police chief in the Village of Washingtonville, said the parent should be given an appearance ticket. Otherwise, he continued, you can't get the kid to court. "The village court has no jurisdiction on people under 16," he said. The board took no action of either of these proposals.