Sheriff’s citizen’s group targets teen issues
By Karen Brainard
How to reach teenagers and their parents and relay warnings and preventive advice about such social concerns as drug use, drinking, and sexting was pondered by those attending the Ramona Sheriff’s Substation Citizen’s Advisory Group meeting.
This was the fourth meeting of the group, led by Lt. James Bovet. Although five residents serve as members, only three attended, along with a high school parent and Crime Prevention Specialist Barbara Wallace.
One of the topics that parents and teens need to be aware of is the social host ordinance, Wallace said at the Nov. 14 meeting. The ordinance assigns responsibility to those who knew or should have known a drinking party was occurring on their property. Anyone allowing minors, under age 21, to drink alcohol on their property could be cited or arrested, fined $1,000 or more, and could serve up to six months in jail.
Sexting, the term used to describe teens taking and sending sexually suggestive photos of themselves and others with their smartphones, has been in the news recently as the San Diego Police Department is investigating sexting incidents at area high schools. Advisory group member and Ramona Unified School Board Trustee Kim Lasley said a lot of parents are not aware of sexting. Because the photos can spread throughout a school via smartphones and even end up on the Internet, reputations can be damaged and minors, under age 18, who take or send photos could be committing a crime, according to law enforcement.
Other information the group would like to distribute is where to find help when a child approaches his parents and says he has a problem with drugs. The services are out there but many parents may not be aware of them, advisory group members said.
To get the messages and information out to the public, Wallace suggested using social media, saying it is a communications tool that can reach a lot of people. The group also discussed working with Ramona Unified School District.
Graffiti and the recent arrests of three 19-year-old Ramona males in the tagging group Making Art Daily (MAD) was mentioned. Bovet said some minors also were involved and those caught tagging will have to pay for the damages.
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