ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) — Abbeville City Council discussed moving forward with a proposed curfew in the city’s ordinance for minors in Tuesday night’s meeting.

The council unanimously approved adjusting the curfew to minors under the age of 18 rather than 17 years old. The time was adjusted to Sunday through Thursday, 8:30 p.m. until 5:00 a.m., and Friday through Saturday, 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. 

Under the new ordinance, parents will face penalties if a minor is caught by law enforcement without their legal guardian’s supervision during curfew hours. The first offense is $50. The second is $75, and the third is $100. Fines will not exceed $500. At a judge’s discretion, repeat offenders may face community service, jail time not exceeding 60 days, or any other needed resources such as parental classes. 

“Parents need to be held responsible for their kids, and until parents are held responsible for their kids, and we put something on parents, they’re not going to worry about that,” said Councilman Francis Touchet, Jr., District B. 

The councilman says this ruling gives Police Chief Mike Hardy “some teeth” to be able to stop minors at 8:30 p.m. and enforce the necessary consequences.

“We’re not trying to stop athletes. We’re not trying to stop activities. We’re not going to go against the kid that needs to go to a job by all means. They need to be doing that, but we have a lot of people that are just not doing what they need to do, and we got to get our chief the ammunition to be able to move forward,” Councilman Touchet, Jr. added.

A community member present at the meeting said parents need to do something.

“We’re in this predicament because we don’t want to say something. You see something, you say something, and quit holding back, so it’s part of us too. So it’s a give and take on each in,” he said. 

Another woman brought attention to other concerns.

“This is the type of ordinance that is disproportionately impacting communities of color and lowering socioeconomic communities across the nation,” she said. “Racial bias is a thing, and we would be naïve to think that something like that couldn’t or wouldn’t happen in our community. As this council considers this, I think that’s an important consideration.” 

“We’re doing something in Abbeville that no other communities are doing. We’re going to put some teeth, and yes, do we need to adjust? We need to adjust, but it comes down to we want our kids to be safe. We have to keep our kids safe,” said Councilman Touchet. 

The ordinance will take effect in 30 days.