Four Bowdon Families asked for assistance, on Monday night, from Bowdon City Council after they claim that children who have runaway from Kids Peace have trespassed on many area residences and are alleged to be responsible for property damage, including several stolen cars.
One resident, whose car was stolen in February, asked the council for help in finding a solution:
When the kids run away, there has been theft and vandalism, trespassing and it has upset a lot of people in the neighborhood and it has made some of us afraid.
Kids Peace is a private charity that offers schooling, room, board and watchful oversight for children with behavioral and mental needs.
Bowdon City Manager, Gary Bulloch confirmed during the city council meeting that children from Kids Peace were responsible for at least one past car theft. Other alleged car thefts are still under investigation by police.
Other alleged incidents are hard to prove.
I have found them hiding behind my washing machine and it scares an old person to death, said one resident.Ive had to call the police but we cant prove its them but it is always at the time of a run away.
Bowdon Mayor, Jim Chaffin said that they will try to facilitate solutions including a possible alert system but that it will ultimately be at the discretion of Kids Peace.
Kids Peace Executive Director, Lou Shagawat spoke with WLBB Radio. He admits that some students have left the campus without permission but he thinks that there is a misunderstanding between the community and his facility.
There seems to be a misunderstanding of the children that we serve as well as what we do and who we are as a facility, said Shagawat. We are not a juvenile correctional facility. We are a healthcare facility that is providing care and treatment to children throughout the state of Georgia.
According to Shagawat, in the fourteen years of operation, two children have been arrested and charged for actions after they had left the campus. Shagawat said neither incident involved charges or accusations of violence.