Raytown Daytime Curfew Ordinance

Missouri
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Last Updated: September 4, 2012
Raytown Daytime Curfew Ordinance
Sponsors:
Board of Aldermen
Summary:

The proposed daytime curfew ordinance would make it a crime for young people to be in a public place during public school hours.

The city's Board of Aldermen had scheduled a vote on the ordinance. But as the time for the Tuesday, Sept. 4 meeting approached, the curfew was removed from the agenda.

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.
Action Requested:
None at this time
Status:

09/07/2012:     Second reading and vote scheduled
09/04/2012:     Curfew removed from agenda

Background:

1. Daytime curfews do not deter juvenile crime. A recent California study compared the juvenile crime rates of counties that enforced curfew ordinances and counties that did not. The crime rates were the same. The curfews had no effect on juvenile crime.

2. Daytime curfews allow searches without probable cause. The Fourth Amendment forbids any investigation of a citizen without a "probable cause." The proposed ordinance allows policemen to stop and interrogate a person merely because he looks young enough to be violating the curfew. It is an invitation to harass homeschool
families.

3. Daytime curfews assume a person is guilty until proven innocent. In several incidents where homeschool students were stopped by police, they had done nothing to arouse suspicion. There was no evidence they had committed a crime or intended to. Nonetheless, the police interrogated them and treated them like criminals until they had proved their innocence.

4. The ordinance contains some exceptions. Unfortunately, the only way for a policeman to determine if an exception applies is to stop and interrogate the frightened young person. By then the damage has already been done. The child may be afraid to go outdoors again. The right to homeschool includes the right to be free from fear--especially for young people, who are most vulnerable to feelings of fear.

5. There is no exception for homeschooled children. There is an exception for children who are "exempted" or "excluded" from compulsory education or who are attending their own school or "authorized to be absent." But a homeschooled child does not fall into any of those categories if he is simply enjoying his liberty because his homeschool program is over for the day or year. However, even if a homeschool exception is added, the proposal would still be totally unacceptable.

6. The ordinance pressures homeschool families to take the time and trouble to find out exactly what days and hours public schools are in session. Parents who dismiss their homeschooled kids on days when public schools are in session could be arrested and prosecuted.

7. The Ratyown school system is pushing this, ostensibly to reduce truancy. But Belvidere school district (Illinois) enacted a daytime curfew in June, 1996, and over the next 10 years chronic truancy increased by 73%! (Based on Illinois State Board of Education statistics.)

8. Journalist Stephen Mayer with KCTV reported earlier this week that Kansas City has a daytime curfew. This is an error. A daytime curfew and changes to truancy enforcement were proposed in a bill in early 2012. The bill was amended to remove the daytime curfew and then enacted with changes to truancy procedures.

9. Families for Home Education (FHE) representatives plan to meet with Raytown representatives and explain that the Kansas City ordinance (as actually passed) is acceptable, but the proposed Raytown ordinance is not.

10. HSLDA and FHE are united in opposing this ordinance.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom in Missouri!

 Other Resources

Bill Text

E-lert, August 30, 2012: "Missouri—Urgent Action Needed to Stop Raytown Daytime Curfew"