With a recent increase in youth violence, police in Trenton, New Jersey are trying to figure out how to get kids off the street when they shouldn’t be there. Unfortunately, their proposed solution may end up causing even more problems than they resolve.
With the help of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and local pastors, children under the age of 18 who are caught out on the street from midnight until 6 a.m. will be taken to a house of worship. Police will then notify the parents or guardians to pick their children.
“The way I look at it is, what is the better idea: You get woken up in the middle of the night for bringing your child home or you get woken up in the middle of the night to get a terrible notification that your child isn’t coming home,” [Police Director Ernest] Parrey said.
What’s the better idea? Fine them. Fine their parents. Make them complete community service hours. Revoke their drivers license. Hold them at the police station. Drive them home.
Sending them to Christian churches — and you *know* they’re going to be Christian churches — isn’t the answer. Pastors will always figure out a way to proselytize to their captive audiences, even if it’s inadvertent. They can’t help it; it’s how they’re wired.
The police will hold a press conference next week to go into more detail about the plan — but unless it’s a giant apology for the lazy, horrible idea, I’m not sure what the point is.
Church/state separation groups have been notified.
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