Council looks at danger of students street peddling

WYNNEFIELD HEIGHTS - September 13, 2012

A familiar tradition at major local intersections is the sight of children, some as young as 8, weaving through traffic soliciting cash or selling candy to raise money needed for a host of activities, sports teams, stepping troupes and the like.

City Council calls it street peddling, but all too often City Council says they see children out unsupervised by adults and therefore in danger.

"When we see 8-year-olds, 12-year-olds, coming up in major intersections unsupervised, no parental supervision, and no responsible adult present, for me that raises a safety issue," Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown said.

"You know how people drive these days. People don't let old people cross the street anymore; they'll run a kid down without thinking twice about it," Councilman James Kenney said.

Today, the council passed a resolution to investigate this practice.

Lawmakers also honored the Parkside Saints football team, part of a highly respected program for some 300 youngsters from West Philadelphia.

Parkside's founder and coach Clifford Smith says he makes sure Parkside kids of all ages are supervised by adults during the time they're out doing what he calls "tagging."

"I don't think that kids should be out there by themselves, I don't encourage that. I don't tell my kids to go out there, my kids can't go out there without a parent or a coach," Smith said.

"There're major intersections like 34th and Girard Avenue, the five point intersection at Conshohocken Avenue, where I've seen children almost hit, almost for us is close enough for us ask the deeper questions," Reynolds-Brown said.

The council is now gathering data from the police on the rate of accidents occurring when youngsters are out along the major thoroughfares trying to raise money.

Hearings on this subject are expected to take place this fall.

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