Baltimore City Councilman Proposes Raising Fines For Businesses Allowing Kids In During School Hours

Baltimore City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett takes the podium at City Hall. Screenshot via @kristerferb on Instagram.

What’s happening?

One Baltimore lawmaker wants to hold businesses in the city accountable for kids skipping class, Vincent Hill reports for WBFF. While a current law allows Baltimore businesses to be fined up to $500 for allowing youth to patronize during school hours, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett plans to raise the fine to $1,000.

Burnett’s proposal comes after a January shooting at Edmondson Shopping Center that killed a 16-year-old and injured four others — a tragedy the councilman said he hopes the higher fines will reduce the chances of in the future. However, data on the efficacy of these fines is unclear, and Baltimore Police did not share the number of citations issued.

How are residents reacting to Burnett’s initiative?

Some business owners in Baltimore expressed opposition to both the current fine and the proposed increase. “I would just tell them to find another way to get money but not inside of our pocket. We are working too hard to just give money, for them to do their jobs,” said store owner Phyliss Kmwdam.

Councilman Zeke Cohen acknowledged that while businesses shoulder some of the blame, Baltimore City schools are just as responsible. Cohen suggested relying on truancy officers to enforce school attendance. 

Anything else I should know? 

Baltimore law currently states that children under the age of 16 must be in school between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. The city also has nighttime curfews for kids, which vary depending on their age, the day of the week and time of year.

You can read more here. 

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