Solution to McGraw Act not easy

Published 2:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2017

Important change never comes easy, and that’s what’s happening in the Mississippi Senate right now concerning the Rivers McGraw Act.

After easily passing the House, the bill before the Senate would require parents to be notified before anyone under 21 could be granted bond after being arrested for drugs or driving under the influence.

Advocates are pushing the bill because former Ole Miss student Rivers McGraw, 19, was arrested under the influence by Oxford Police and bonded from jail by friends. Hours later, McGraw committed suicide.

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His mother, Lauren McGraw, and others believe that if her police had been required to contact parents that her son would still be alive today.

But police, including Oxford chief Joey East, argue that it is more complicated than that. He says 19-year-olds can be married, or war veterans — calling parents doesn’t always add up.

Others argue that the drinking age is 21, which makes anyone under that age arrested for drugs or alcohol effectively a minor. Also, many that age are still supported by parents.

We don’t have all the answers, either, but believe this discussion is healthy and hope that law enforcement and the Senate can find the solution that leads to beneficial change.