Every parent of a school-aged child knows the end of May means finding a way to keep their child entertained, safe and out of trouble for the upcoming summer vacation months.
“The end of the school year has historically coincided with a rise in juvenile offenses such as graffiti/vandalisms and other misconduct,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Wood, provost marshal for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
According to a report from the Provost Marshal’s Office, several incidents of malicious mischief have been reported recently within Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton housing areas, which include graffiti and other acts of vandalism and property damage.
“Whenever we have an incident [with a minor] that involves malicious mischief, vandalism, larceny or drug usage there’s always the element of the child who is completely un-tethered without any supervision,” said Wood.
Developing a plan of accountability for your child, by knowing base curfew hours and what programs and events are available on base are ways to maintain accountability of school-aged children.
“There are so many organized activities, not only on base, but in the surrounding areas as well,” said Cliff Johnson, community policing officer for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
More than 20 summer programs are available through Marine Corps Community Services, including free football and dance camp, and a weekly surf camp.
All parents should be aware of curfew times and supervision regulations, regardless if children attend programs on base or out in town.
Camp Pendleton regulations stipulate that children under the age of 12 May not be left alone in any house. Children over 12 may care for younger children; however, this does not relieve parents of basic childcare responsibilities.
No child younger than 18 may be left alone over night, and in any case, discretion should be used regarding the level of maturity and trustworthiness.
Children younger than 18 may not remain in, or upon the streets, or other public places in the family housing areas during the hours of 10:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. Friday and Saturday unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or other person having legal care, or custody of the minor.
“If it’s a first time offense, we pick them up, return them to their parents and have a discussion,” said Wood. “Repeated offense will result in an assessment of the child, the child’s environment, and California Child Protective Services could be notified.”
The Provost Marshal’s Office is acquiring parent’s support and partnership with planned community policing and support operations.
“We would rather preempt what appears to be a risky situation than wait and have it result in a worst case scenario for both the juvenile and the parent,” said Wood. “A goal of ours is to partner with the community to protect our juveniles and the service members that are accountable for them.”
For exceptions to these policies, see Base Order P11101.31B.
Summer programs and events for school-aged children provided on base can be found at www.mccscp.com/summer-activities-2012.
Assistance is available from the Community Policing section of the Provost Marshal’s Office at 760-763-2804.