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A daytime curfew is being considered in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The ordinance would prohibit minors from being on public streets and in public places and commercial establishments in Reynoldsburg during school hours on school days.
6/14/2010 First reading
6/21/2010 Referred to Safety Committee
7/6/2010 Placed on "other business"
A new version of the curfew that only applies to suspended and expelled students passed.
This problem is more than hypothetical. Even when exceptions for homeschoolers are written into the curfew law, police officers frequently presume that any school age child is truant, regardless of whether they are homeschooled.
- Earlier this year, Tasha* and Brian*, 14- and 16-year-old sister and brother, were stopped by Cleveland, Ohio, police. The siblings, with schoolbooks in tow, were on their way to the library. The officer who stopped them was skeptical when they told him they were homeschooled, but he let them go with a warning that next time, they would have to prove their story in court.
- Kyle* and Amy* are California homeschooled students who were out during public school hours. Both were accosted by the police. Kyle was transported to the local truancy center and Amy was ticketed.
- Jacob,* a 12-year-old another California homeschooler, went to the store one block from his home to buy paper for his homeschool program. A police officer picked him up, brought him home, and cited him for violation of the daytime curfew.
*Not their real names.
Daytime curfews interfere with 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 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. These 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 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 dangerously 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 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 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 identities, 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.
Daytime curfews will likely result in registration of privately educated students with police departments with the attendant issuance of ID cards and badges.
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.
For more information on daytime curfews, please see our analysis of this issue.
A strategy packet for defeating daytime curfews can be found on our website.
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Study by the National Center for School Engagement showing that daytime curfews are not effective in dealing with truancy.