Associated Press Published

ACLU Criticizes Parkersburg's Panhandling Signs


  Parkersburg’s panhandling signs are drawing criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia.

The signs discourage people from giving to panhandlers, saying it contributes to drug and alcohol abuse.

ACLU of West Virginia executive director Jennifer Meinig tells The Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the signs are defamatory. She says they suggest that all panhandlers suffer from drug and alcohol issues.

Mayor Bob Newell had the signs placed in three areas of the city earlier this month. He tells the newspaper that the signs are an attempt to educate the public.

Newell says money given to panhandlers might not be used as donors believe it will be used.

He says he doesn’t believe anyone is defamed by the signs.