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House Bill 1130: Enactment of Daytime Curfews
Representative Dave Winters
This bill specifically encourages municipal governments to establish daytime curfews "to help combat truancy in the public schools."
If passed, this bill will greatly increase the likelihood of your children being under a daytime curfew, meaning they would have much less freedom to be outside during school hours. In order to enforce a daytime curfew police officers have to stop and question children in public, even if they have a valid excuse to be there. You would have to be careful sending your 17 year-old daughter to pick up some groceries or letting your 16 year-old son go to music lessons across town.
Due to the overwhelming number of calls received from homeschoolers, the sponsor of House Bill 1130, Representative Dave Winters, has promised not to call the bill for a vote in its present form.
Representative Winters may still try to bring an amended bill before the committee, but has expressed a desire to work with the homeschooling community to ensure that constitutional freedoms are protected.
However, since any type of daytime curfew is a threat to these freedoms HSLDA cannot agree with any amended curfew bill.
|02/10/2005||Assigned to Local Government Committee|
|03/10/2005||Referred to Rules Committee|
HSLDA is opposed to this bill.
- Daytime curfews violate a minor's fundamental constitutional right to freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment on the public streets, highways and areas of the city without being subjected to prior governmental restraint.
- Daytime curfews violate the fundamental legal principle of the presumption of innocence. This presumption is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
- Daytime curfews result in violations of the minors' Fourth Amendment rights to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. A policeman should not stop and question anyone unless there are actual facts that make it reasonable to suspect that a crime has occurred. If a policeman stops and questions a person without such facts, it is a violation of the citizen's rights under the Fourth Amendment.
- Daytime curfews interfere with the parents' fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children, especially for parents with children in small private schools who often work outside the classroom.
- Daytime curfews are, in essence, beefed-up truancy ordinances. All states have already addressed the area of truancy in a comprehensive way. There is no need for new laws addressing the issue of truancy. The present laws addressing minors simply need to be enforced.
- Daytime curfews will result in selective enforcement. Since officers will not be stopping every juvenile during school hours to check their ID, they will be selective. This opens up the extremely dangerous potential for unequal treatment of minors based upon race, appearance, dress, etc. This type of ordinance will simply divert attention from real crime prevention programs and interfere with effective police work.
- There is no evidence that daytime curfews significantly reduce juvenile crime during curfew hours. Statistics demonstrate that there is very little juvenile crime during these hours even when there is no daytime curfew. Additionally, the serious juvenile law-breaker will not be deterred by the daytime curfew. However, hundreds, if not thousands of innocent minors will suffer the inconvenience of unwarranted stops, detentions and harassment, not to mention the added cost for taxpayers for the enforcement of the curfew.
- Daytime curfews train young citizens to accept, as normal, constraints that are inconsistent with the freedom they should be educated to enjoy and use responsibly in their adult years.
- Daytime curfews send a message to self-disciplined and responsible young people that the community makes no distinction between them and irresponsible adults who abuse freedom in ways detrimental to the community.
- Daytime curfews will likely result in registration of privately educated students with police departments with the attendant issuance of ID cards and badges.
For more information on daytime curfews, please see our analysis of this issue at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2102
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