By James Pan
Lakeport residents have expressed ongoing concern about the behavior of some students from Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School who congregate in Triangle Park, at our community dock, and elsewhere on Lakeport property. Guests are always welcome, but sometimes they are “colorful” in ways that do not set a good example for Lakeport’s young kids.
I have several thoughts in response. First, young teens will be young teens, and many are still learning appropriate norms for behavior in civil society. Often a polite reminder that younger children are in the vicinity (or that you are troubled by their language and/or behavior) is all that is needed.
Note that the RA path, which is very close to Triangle Park, is not Lakeport property. If there is an issue on the pathway, we need to contact RA. Although Triangle Park is private property belonging to Lakeport, I believe that most of the kids think that both the pathway and Triangle Park are public property. Keep in mind also that sometimes the kids hanging out there are guests of Lakeport children.
If a polite request does not work or if you are dealing with a belligerent person or a repeat offender, take some photos in an unobtrusive manner. There is no need to “brandish” the camera in a threatening manner. We can then present the photos to the School Resource Officers at Langston Hughes and South Lakes for identification. If the students are identified, we will ask the SRO to contact the parents of the problem person(s), which we have done in the past with success. I'm sure we all agree that involving the parents should be the first attempt to solve the problem.
If this approach fails, we can follow a process that includes summoning the police and, if necessary, formally banning someone from the property, but this is a cumbersome process that we would like to avoid if possible.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.