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Ban skateboarding in public places?

NEWS FACT: Skateboarding bans are being considered in many U.S. cities and towns. One Philadelphia suburb may abolish skateboarding on public and private property unless the owner gives permission. In Omaha, Nebraska, a proposed law threatens up to three months in jail or a $1,000 fine for using a skateboard, in-line skates, or roller skates in the downtown area.

Residents and business owners say that skateboarding damages sidewalks, benches, and other property. By doing dangerous stunts on busy streets, critics argue, kids are putting themselves and others at risk.

Opponents of the bans say that skateboarding is a form of transportation that does not harm the environment. It also helps kids--and adults--stay active.

For lots of kids, skateboarding is just plain fun. It keeps them from getting bored or into trouble. While many towns now have skate parks, other places still don't. Skateboarders there are asking, "Where are we supposed to go?"

What Do You Think?

Should skateboarding be banned in public areas?

YES

Ernesto Ocegueda, 14, has mixed emotions about skateboarding bans. But the eighth-grader at De Anza Middle School in Ontario, California, says that he understands "the need to protect schools and other private property."

These concerns are very real. "An accident can occur in a public place, such as a business," explains Ernesto's classmate, 14-year-old Juan Mendez. "Then the owner of that business could be sued by the parents of the child."

Koraima Mejia, 14, is not a skateboarder. She believes that skateboarding is a waste of time. "Kids should do something more important than skating around," sags the eighth-grader at Darwin Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. "They might hurt themselves, and they might hurt other people if they are skating in public places."

Her classmate Jose Castrejon, 13, agrees. "Kids should be at home studying," he tells JS. "Or their parents should take them to skate parks."

NO

As Councilman Craig Alberhasky of Omaha, Nebraska, told the Omaha World-Herald, bans on skateboarding are unnecessary. "What's next?" he said. "Are we going to tell these kids they can't drive a bike down the ... street?"

"That's why it's called public--because people can go there and be able to do whatever they want," says Yuliana Quezada, 14. An eighth-grader at Darwin Elementary, Yuliana believes that "[teens] need to have a hobby and get exercise." Skateboarding, she adds, keeps some kids from getting into trouble or doing drugs.

Yuliana's classmate, Tomas Diaz, says that skateboarding can even lead to a lucrative future. "Skateboarding is a good hobby because it could turn into a good career in extreme sports, like Tony Hawk, my skateboarding hero," says Tomas. "Also, the United States has rights, and one of them is freedom of expression. Skateboarding is like a freedom of expression."
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Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Debate
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Date:Apr 30, 2007
Words:459
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