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7/13/2006 11:49:34 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Jersey--Help Needed to Defeat Daytime Curfew Ordinance

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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New Jersey--Help Needed to Defeat Daytime Curfew Ordinance

July 13, 2006

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Your help is urgently needed to block an effort in the
Washington Borough, N.J., to pass an ordinance that would make it a crime to
be in a public place during public school hours. A hearing will be
held on the proposed ordinance on Tuesday, July 18.

Daytime curfews do not accomplish what the proponents claim. They
have a disproportionate impact on homeschool families because we allow
our children free time while public schools are in session.
Homeschoolers have been harassed and made fearful by policemen who
treat them like suspected criminals for doing nothing more than being
in public.

ACTION REQUESTED

If you live in Washington Borough, Warren County, please attend the
hearing on July 18 and express your opposition to the daytime curfew.
The hearing will be held at 8 p.m. in the borough council chambers on
the second floor of the borough hall, 100 Belvidere Avenue,
Washington, N.J.

Please contact other families and ask them to come to the meeting, as
well.

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 allows 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. The ordinance also creates a nighttime curfew. Nighttime curfews
have not generally been problematic for homeschool families.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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