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2/12/2008 3:22:52 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Ohio--Attend Elyria City Council Committee Meeting to Oppose Daytime Curfew

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 12, 2008

Ohio--Attend Elyria City Council
Committee Meeting to Oppose Daytime Curfew

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

We need you to act to oppose a curfew in Elyria, Ohio. The City
Council's Public Utilities, Safety and Environment Committee will be
discussing the pros and cons of the curfew tomorrow, Wednesday,
February 13, 2008, at 6 p.m. Please attend to express your opposition
to this unnecessary ordinance. For more information about the
proposed curfew, see http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=4764

This legislation undermines the freedom we enjoy in the United States.

With this curfew in place, your children could be taken to the local
police station to verify who they are and that they have a valid
excuse to be in a public place. Any parent or legal guardian who
violates the ordinance could be found guilty of a misdemeanor. You
would have less freedom to send your 15-year-old daughter to pick up
some groceries or let your 16-year-old son go to music lessons across
town.

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 month, 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 are
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; Amy was ticketed.

> Jacob,* another 12-year-old California homeschooler, went to the
store one block from his home on February 2, 2006, 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

We need as many people as possible to attend tomorrow's committee
meeting to express opposition to the curfew.

ACTION REQUESTED

1) Attend the Elyria City Council Public Utilities, Safety and
Environment Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 13, 2008, at 6
p.m. The meeting will be in the Elyria City Hall, Council Chambers, at
131 Court Street.

2)If you are unable to attend the meeting, please contact the
committee members to share with them your concerns about the proposed
ordinance. Their contact information is as follows:

Michael J. Lotko, III, Council-At-Large, Chair
440) 322-3501

Victor F. Stewart, III, Council-At-Large, Vice-Chair
440) 284-5848

Kevin A. Brubaker, Council-At-Large
440) 366-9756

Mark F. Craig, Ward 4
440) 366-0608

Donna Mitchell, Ward 6
440) 323-9660

3)Please call homeschoolers and other freedom-loving citizens in your
area to alert them to this need as quickly as possible. Every person
you can reach by telephone is one person more likely to stop this
un-American curfew.

Tell the members of the Council that the curfew is unnecessary (police
already have the authority they need to deal with truancy issues).
Furthermore, a curfew would unreasonably restrain your family's
freedom.

BACKGROUND

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 at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2102

A strategy packet for defeating daytime curfews can be found at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=4765

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely,

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> Is customer service an art or a science?

For us, good customer service is both an art and a science
-it should appeal to our members and be effective. Consider what
our members say about us:

The freedom HSLDA allows me to have as I homeschool is wonderful!
They handle the law and I get to dedicate the time to my daughter.
- National City, CA

HSLDA members since 1993, our membership is just as important to
us as our children's curriculum. Thank you HSLDA for all you do on
our behalf! - West Valley, NY

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1941

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