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May / June 2005

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Attempt to codify daytime curfews

Daytime curfew initiatives are not new in Illinois, but until recently they have been confined to the local level. In February 2005, however, Representative Dave Winters introduced House Bill 1130, which is designed to make daytime curfews a statewide reality.

Filed at the request of a city police department, the bill would add a sentence to state law specifically giving municipalities the power to enact daytime curfews "to help combat truancy in the public schools."

While the bill's purpose is to fight truancy, its effect would be to undermine the freedom and liberty currently enjoyed by the citizens of Illinois. By design, daytime curfews greatly restrict a child's freedom to be outside during school hours. To effectively enforce the curfew, police officers have to stop and question all children who appear to be school age. Even a 17-year-old on his way to a part-time job or music lesson would run the risk of being stopped and questioned.

Home School Legal Defense Association has previously challenged the constitutionality of daytime curfews in the courts and before city councils in a number of states. Such curfews violate a minor's 14th Amendment right to freedom of movement on the streets, highways, and other public areas of a city without being subjected to prior governmental restraint. A daytime curfew also results in violations of a minor's 4th Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. A police officer should not stop and question any person unless there are actual facts that make it reasonable to suspect a crime has occurred.

Upon receiving news of HB 1130, HSLDA sent an e-lert to our Illinois families asking them to call the House Local Government Committee members who would be voting on the bill, including Representative Winters. The phone calls were effective: some veteran committee members said they had never received so many calls on any other issue. Representative Winters agreed to hold the bill, stating that he wanted to work with homeschoolers to ensure the constitutional rights of Illinois citizens.

HSLDA will continue monitoring HB 1130 to prevent any further attempts by the Illinois Legislature to encourage daytime curfews.

For more information on daytime curfews, visit HSLDA's Issues Library on our website,

— by Christopher J. Klicka