02 January 2007

Closing A Library for Children's Misbehaviour

The Maplewood Library has decided to close between 2:45 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. because they are tired of dealing with middle school miscreants who come there after school. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have never been a fan of punishing a group for the actions of a minority. At the same time, when I lived in New York City, I would avoid taking the subway just after school let out (if possible), because I did not want to contend with noisy/misbehaving schoolchildren. I'll add that the standards for behaviour on the subway are quite different from standards of behaviour in a public library. The subway children may not have been out of line.
However, the behaviour of the schoolchildren while they are at the library are reprehensible. Urinating on the bathroom floor and drawing graffiti is disgraceful. I can see why their parents do not want them to be home by themselves if they behave this way when there is limited adult supervision.
So, I sympathize with the library. A library is not a babysitting service. At the same time, I'm not sure if it is fair to the rest of the community who might want to use the library during those hours.

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