Thursday night's teen summit on crime was not just about helping local teens make good choices in life, but also about making sure parents give their children the guidance they deserve.
It was a packed house on the third floor of Meridian City Hall on Thursday night as local teens and parents got some insight in to how youth can make a difference in the community and how they can avoid getting in trouble with the law. Locals teens we talked to said they are ready for the challenge.
"It seems like every time I turn on the TV, there's someone either getting killed or getting hurt that's in my age group," Meridian High School senior Jewea Wilburn said. "And I hate that."
"Actually, hopefully, I can try to get people more involved in communities," Meridian Community College freshman Brittany Laster said. "Or get somebody to talk to, to see what we can do to not only keep them active. But you know, have their mind straight."
One challenge teens face is abiding by the set curfew, which is 10:00 Sunday through Thursday nights and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Lauderdale County Youth Court Judge Veldore Young didn't hold back when addressing local youth. She told them claims that officials are out to target youth unfairly are bogus and that they have no one to blame but themselves for ending up in legal trouble.
"So stop smoking dope, stop fighting each other, stop having sex in public places," Judge Young said. "And act like you want to be responsible."
Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry told Newscenter 11 that based on the response to Thursday night's summit, it is clear that youth are interested in more summits.
"They need more information," Mayor Barry said. "They need more communication and leadership from the adults of this community. And I think you'll see more of our youth getting involved."
If you have any questions regarding crime or youth in the community, you can call or stop by the mayor's office.