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Vol. XXVI
No. 5
Cover
September/October
2010

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TEXAS

Charges Dismissed in Curfew Case

Brandon Clark (name changed to protect privacy), a homeschooled teenager, lives in a Houston suburb with a very restrictive daytime curfew. After Brandon ran afoul of this curfew, Home School Legal Defense Association was successful in getting the ticket dismissed.

Brandon had finished school for the day, and his mother asked him to pick up some items to repair their computer. When an adult friend of the family stopped by about lunch time, Mrs. Clark gave Brandon money for the computer products and told him and the friend to stop for lunch on the way back from making the purchase.

At one o’clock, as Brandon and his friend were driving home from lunch, the police stopped the car and cited Brandon for violation of the daytime curfew, which forbids children under 17 from being on the street during public school hours. Brandon explained that he was homeschooled and that his school was not in session for the afternoon, but the police officer refused to listen. The friend provided proof that he was over 17, so he was not cited for anything.

The Clarks, who are HSLDA members, contacted us for assistance. We retained Texas local counsel Tom Sanders to represent the family in court. After meeting with the prosecuting attorney, Sanders was able to get all charges dismissed.

HSLDA is examining various legal options to ensure that town officials will no longer apply this daytime curfew to homeschoolers, who operate as private schools under Texas law.

— by Darren A. Jones