New Atlanta teen curfew in legal limbo as city law department reviews legality

The Founder of Saving Our Sons, an organization that works to prevent youth violence says parents and neighbors need to step up.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:56 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - One city councilwoman believes a tighter curfew could be the answer to teen gun violence. Keisha Waites, who’s rallying parents around her proposal, says a teen killed over the weekend might be alive today if her curfew legislation had been enacted.

Deerica Charles knows all too well what Deshon Dubose’s family is going through. The 13-year-old, who community members describe as a kind and giving young boy, was killed in a shooting over the weekend along MLK Drive.

“I can’t tell you it’s going to be okay, because it’s never going to be okay,” said Charles.

Charles lost her 12-year-old son Zyion in a shooting last November. Since then, she’s been a vocal supporter of Councilwoman Keisha Waites’ teen curfew proposal, which would move up the current curfew from 11 pm to 8 pm for anyone under 16.

“The time is now. My ask of the city, public, parents, and stakeholders is, when is enough, enough? How many more children do we need to continue to lose before we take action? Zyion is counting on us. Deshon is counting on us,” said Waites.

Not everyone believes the stricter curfew, which Waites admits would act more as a deterrent, not an arrestable offense, is the answer. The Founder of Saving Our Sons, an organization that works to prevent youth violence says parents and neighbors need to step up.

“We have to stop pointing the finger at the police department, we have to stop pointing the finger at the school board, stop pointing the finger at the community, it’s on us,” said Bruce Griggs of Saving Our Sons Campaign.

Meanwhile, Charles says she’s no longer sad, she’s angry.

“It’s like no one cares about us, because this is our reality. If it’s not your reality, you’re not going to care until it hits your front door,” said Charles.

It’s not clear when the curfew will be formally debated at city hall. Waites hopes it’ll make it onto the agenda in another two weeks.

Deshon Dubose’s school, Drew Charter School brought in grief counselors this weekend for staff and students in need. The school released the following statement to Atlanta News First.

“During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends, and all who loved him. Many of us remember his beautiful smile, quick wit, and charming personality. His presence in our Drew Family is missed.”