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Rules OKs Tougher School Vandalism Penalties

Aug. 12, 2004 – Parents whose minor children commit acts of vandalism in the public schools could be fined $5,000 and serve five years behind bars if legislation introduced by Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone becomes law.
On Thursday the Senate Rules Committee approved Malone's bill, which as amended would increase fines to $5,000 from the current $1,000 and set a maximum of five years in prison for the vandalizing of school property. The bill makes the parents of minors convicted of vandalism responsible for the penalties.
Fines collected are to be placed in impress accounts at the vandalized facilities, to be used for school improvements and the purchase of supplies.
Malone, who is not a member of the Rules Committee, found ample support from his Senate colleagues. Co-sponsoring the bill were Sens. Lorraine Berry, Roosevelt David, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Carlton Dowe, Emmett Hansen II, Almando "Rocky" Liburd and Celestino A. White Sr.
Malone also thanked Sen. Ronald Russell, chair of the Education and Youth Committee, for his support of the measure.
The bill will be considered at the next full Senate session. In a release following Thursday's meeting Malone asked his colleagues at that time to "vote to arm our law enforcement personnel and our school administrators with additional power to help fight this crime against our schools."
Noting the approaching start of the new school year and a recent spate of burglaries and vandalism of schools in both districts, he said: "This bill could not have come at a more opportune time."

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