Lack of parental control, resources for teens cited as factors - KCTV5

Lack of parental control, opportunities for teens cited as Plaza violence factors

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Lack of parental control and opportunities for teens were among the causes cited as factors leading to the violent Saturday night at the Country Club Plaza.

Some Kansas City parents pointed the blame at other parents for dropping off their minor children and allowing them to roam the Plaza for hours. Others say Kansas City has failed to provide youth with enough resources to keep them busy and out of trouble.

Amie Grayson said young teenagers should be home by 9 p.m.

"I don't think any kids should be out at night," Grayson said. "It's just ridiculous."

Two boys and a girl were shot just 50 yards from Mayor Sly James about 11:30 p.m. The youth ranged in age from 13 to 16 years old and were in a crowd of hundreds.

Grayson is raising four children in the inner city and said there is no excuse for teens roaming the Plaza late at night.

"Parents are sometimes slacking," she said. "They do need to know where their children are."

Ruthe Workcuff is the parent of a 16-year-old teen. She said more opportunities need to be created for teens so that the Plaza doesn't have the lure that it does for bored youngsters.

Former Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks, who was with James when shots rang out, said the violence is everyone's problem.

"The victims are kids," said Brooks, a member of the Kansas City Police Board. "We're blaming them. It's not their fault they don't have activities. It's not their fault that the Plaza is a good place to hang out."

He said the city needs to provide more programs, but acknowledged it will be tough because of the costs, manpower and time.

"I think one thing we failed to do is design programs after talking to kids about what attracts them," he said.

Raymond Banks, a 21-year-old youth leader, said he too would like to see the city do more.

"They really don't put their resources and financial support where they need to be to help us, to make us feel like we're part of Kansas City," Banks said.

To read other developments on Monday in the wake of Saturday's violence, click here.

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