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September / October 2003

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Daytime curfew defeated in Big Spring

In addition to protecting the right to homeschool, Home School Legal Defense Association monitors and defends other parental rights issues that affect homeschoolers. One of these issues is daytime curfews.

HSLDA believes that daytime curfews are unconstitutional. They restrict a minor's movements and unnecessarily stereotype any student seen outside during school hours as automatically truant. Many of the ordinances also authorize the local police to detain and question any minor seen outside during the day. Homeschooled students, who tend to have flexible school hours and can go to jobs and field trips during the day, can become unwitting targets of overzealous curfew enforcement.

Recently, Suzanne Haney informed HSLDA that the Big Spring City Council was to meet for the second reading of a new daytime curfew. At the first reading, the curfew had passed by a 4-3 vote. We immediately equipped Haney with a memo describing the unconstitutionality of the proposed ordinance. She describes the results below:

Dear Chris,

Thank you and your staff at HSLDA for helping Big Spring Christian Home Educators in our efforts to defeat the proposed ordinance providing for a daytime curfew beginning in August. At last night's city council meeting [July 22], the measure failed by a 5-2 vote. This was the second and final reading. On first reading the ordinance proposal passed by a slim 4-3 vote. The credit and glory go to our Heavenly Father, because His Spirit had to have transformed the thinking of the two council members who changed their vote from the first time! The council chamber was packed with concerned citizens-not just homeschoolers. At one point when the doomed fate of the ordinance was obvious to everyone, one of the supporters of the ordinance asked for a show of hands in the room of who supported and who opposed the curfew. Only three people present raised their hands in support. It was a dramatic moment for those of us who had prayed and worked for the defeat of the curfew.

The evidence provided by HSLDA on the unconstitutionality of the proposed curfew played an effective part in the ultimate decision by the council.

To say that we are elated is probably an understatement! We thank God for our Constitution and the opportunity to see it at work. We also thank God for HSLDA, Chris Klicka, James R. Mason, and their wonderful staff for standing in the gap when our basic freedoms are threatened. May God bless you all!

Christopher J. Klicka