VIDEO: Website for keeping eye on Perham teens stirs up controversy
Perham, MN (WDAY TV) - A new website is sparking conversation and some backlash in Perham.
ItTakesAVillagePerham.com encourages the community to post descriptions and even photos of local kids involved in suspicious activities.
For the couple who created this website, it's an issue close to home.
Their teenage son is currently at a boys' home after four years of using drugs, but some say the website goes too far.
Holly Baker of Perham says it was heartbreaking to send her son away.
After discovering text messages between the 16-year-old and his friends about buying and selling prescription drugs, she and her husband Jeff sent him to a boys' home.
Holly Baker- Website Creator: "He was always so secretive. It kind of dawned on us that that is part of the problem. People around here are very secretive and the police can't do anything until they have proof."
That's why a few weeks ago they launched ItTakesAVillagePerham.com.
The site encourages the community to share descriptions and even photos of local kids taking part in suspicious activities.
Baker: "It's about watching each other’s kids and then maybe, just maybe, we can stop some of this."
Not long after the site's creation, another website called "Perham is Safe" popped up.
Evidently created by local teens, the site says “Let’s take our privacy back. We don't want to be followed or have pictures of us on display on that creepy website."
The site creators did not respond to our e-mails.
Meanwhile, the community is mixed on the issue.
Tim Sampson- Perham Resident: "I think it's great."
Carl Wangsness- Perham Resident: "I think it's going a little too far."
Despite getting threats for the site, the Bakers say they want kids to know that the community is watching.
Baker: "If we can help just one family that doesn't have to send their kid to a home because that is heart-wrenching..."
Holly Baker says they do not post names on the website, and every report goes through them before they post it on the site.
For the full story from the Perham Focus, see http://www.perhamfocus.com/content/deterrent-crime-or-just-cruel