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Dealing with Trouble at Taylor

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Scenes like the one at Taylor Elementary on Wednesday have become a growing concern in the surrounding neighborhood.

I'm committed, the school is committed, and the Taylor Neighborhood association is successfully committed to resolving this, said Chief Wayne Jerman with the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Jerman says adding patrol since mid-July had been cut down on incidents in the area. That was, until Tuesday and Wednesday, where a total of five teenagers were arrested for fighting and other disturbances. Those arrests continue a trend.

Those being arrested are not from the Taylor neighborhood, they're not even from the Southwest quadrant, Jerman said. So does that concern us? Yes.

It's not the only trend catching attention. Several calls to CBS 2/FOX 28 News are raising the issue of racism. Namely, that it appears to be an older white population complaining about a group of young African Americans.

Jerman says race has nothing to do with their approach.

If theres violations being committed, officers are going to make the appropriate arrests, Jerman said.

Residents Faith and William McVay, who live just across from the school, agree it's not all about race.

It's unfortunate that they are African American, but I don't think that's the story here, William McVay said.

If it were a bunch of white kids, everyone would feel the same way if the something were going on, Faith McVay said.

However Kathy Potts, president of the Taylor neighborhood, association says race HAS crept into the conversation.

People send me emails with hints of it and some of them have flat out said White people are afraid to go to the park so how else can you take that other than racism? Potts asked.

In the face of these issues, Potts says it's about finding solutions. A list of suggestions gathered by residents include; building a juvenile hall, fining parents for unattended teens, and more city wide youth programs.

Potts and other residents say ultimately, it comes down to parenting.

Parents are the key to making things safe, Potts said.

The McVays agreed.

If people would take more active role in raising their children, people would be able to live in peace in their communities," Faith McVay said.

Jerman says they are working with Potts and the neighborhood association to see which solutions from the residents may work. The neighborhood association is set to tackle the issue again on September 9th.
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