“We need to be done sitting around and watching our youth become ‘stoners’, laying around not working or die because of drug abuse!” the greeting on a new Perham, Minn., website says. “Everyone knows someone that has been put into a drug rehab program, boys home or has had to deal with legal problems due to drug or alcohol use.”
The site, ItTakesAVillagePerham.com, was launched two weeks ago, according to the Perham Focus newspaper, and it encourages parents and others in the community to make “citizen reports,” including photographs of the ne’er-do-wells.
It was started by a woman whose son had to enter drug rehab. “He had been so secretive,” the woman, who was not identified, said. “And it dawned on me that secrecy was part of the problem, so I thought that maybe this website could help.”
A recent report from the site:
Three young teenaged boys were seen outside Service Foods on the sidewalk, tight up against the building in front of the stacks of salt and appeared to be hiding or retrieving something they had hidden. Person reporting just thought it was suspicious.
Some teenagers in town started their own website in response — Perham Is Safe — complaining, according to one posting, about a woman in town who takes pictures of them.
“A few days ago I was walking home because I don’t have a class durning 5th hour,” it said. “Some woman took a picture of me with her cell then shook her head at me. She said she would report me to the cops and put my picture on that website if she saw me again. I wasn’t even skipping! This website is hurting kids who don’t even do drugs or skip. It needs to end.”
The Perham Focus said the problem appears to be a street in town referred to as “Stoners Alley.” The town’s police chief said about 10 high school students or recent graduates congregate during and after school hours and the problem of smoking and littering has gotten worse. He said the police are trying to “mitigate” the problem but kids congregating in town isn’t illegal.