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Let’s help the youth, not punish them

To the Editor:

On the Fourth of July after a nice parade celebrating the birthday of our country and festivities at Veterans Park, three of my grandchildren and I stopped to speak to two 13-year-old boys, whom we did not know, to ask them how their day was going.

Turns out they were skateboarders, very disappointed skateboarders.

They had plans to ride their boards in the parade. At the last minute they were denied entrance in the parade. They were called “anti-American” because, as the boys told us, they were mishandling the American flags they were carrying.

Disappointment No. 1

They were scheduled to do a skateboard demonstration in Veterans Park at 1:30 p.m. I had the scheduled of events from the Pine Journal in my pocket. Because of an oversight, they were not able to do that in there.

Disappointment No. 2

An area in the west end of Cloquet where the boarders set up some ramps some time ago was suddenly torn down.

Disappointment No. 3

The limited view from where I sit:

1. There are probably some inaccuracies in this information but as a whole, this situation is unfortunate to say the least.

2. These young people are the next generation.

3. They seem to be penalized because they are young and have a lot to learn.

4. We may have a lot to say if these boys broke the law.

5. As a community we should get behind these young people 100 percent. I realize many are, but we probably need more.

6. We should give them a space of their own with regulations, within our city.

7. We who care should speak to our council members about this.

8. Time will tell if we will punish them for their enthusiasm or embrace it.

Linda Johnson, Cloquet