By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Kurt Barker could have insisted the book be thrown at the four teenage boys who recently caused damage to Keizer Little League Park facilities.
Barker, the president of Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA), heard from plenty of adults who wanted the teens to be punished.
Based on nearly $15,000 in vandalism damage done, few would have questioned severe punishment.
But Barker wanted to go a different route, to turn the incident into a teaching moment. He didn’t press charges once Keizer Police Department officers tracked down the suspects. Instead, he worked out a deal with the boys and their parents for the teens to publicly apologize and pay for the damage.
“When I proposed that to the (KYSA) board, I was certainly hearing a lot of suggestions from angry parents and volunteers,” Barker said on Tuesday. “Our board decided to give the kids a second chance, to do what is right.”
Barker has been in contact with all parents involved.
“It sounds like they are willing to pay for the damages and have (the boys) make some kind of public apology,”
Barker said. “The boys were very remorseful. They weren’t trying to get out of it. They want to make it right. We came to a verbal agreement.”
Barker emphasized the boys willing be paying for repairs, not the KYSA or the city’s insurance. Information has been handed over to city officials, including estimates of nearly $15,000 from contractors.
Shannon Johnson, Keizer city attorney, isn’t sure yet when repairs will be made.
“We are developing a timeline now,” Johnson said Tuesday.
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