SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Caddo district attorney this week warned parents that they, too, can be charged if their child is caught committing a crime during curfew hours.
That news has drawn mixed reaction from parents and other community members.
There's nothing new about curfew laws. Shreveport's curfew begins at 10 p.m. weekdays and midnight on weekends.
What is different is District Attorney James Stewart's admonishment that parents in certain situations can and will be charged with improper supervision of a minor.
Many support the idea.
"Because if a parent doesn't know where a child (is) at, they (should be) held responsible," parent Danielle Thomas said.
Another mother said: "Yes, I think they should be charged. I think if there's a curfew and you're a parent, then it's your job to enforce that."
However, defense attorney Mark Rogers said, the law may be well intentioned but it is just not practical.
That's largely because many of the juvenile offenders already have issues when it comes to supervision by a parent or guardian, he said.
Many of the juvenile offenders also come from families that typically live at or below the poverty line, Rogers added, so charging parents would only exacerbate the problems at home.
In fact, Rogers fears that enforcing the law could create a wave of parents filing early emancipation once their children turn age 16, freeing the adult from any criminal or civil responsibility for the child's future actions.
Nor are all parents sold on the idea of charging parents.
"If a child is underage, sometimes you, as a parent, don't know where your child is," Paula Richardson, a mother, said. "So why should you be criminally charged with something that your child does?"
She emphasized that she always knows where her children are.
But Richardson also gave a very specific example of why parents should not be charged.
"What if you're asleep and your child sneaks out the back door when you're asleep? You don't know where your child is."
The penalty for improper supervision of a minor is up to month in jail, a $250 fine and 40 hours of community service.