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8/15/2008 3:59:25 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Wyoming --More Action to Oppose Daytime Curfew

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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August 15, 2008

Wyoming--More Action to Oppose Daytime Curfew

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

A number of families attended the Rock Springs City Council meeting
earlier this month to oppose a daytime curfew. If you haven't taken
action, we need you to act to oppose this unnecessary and intrusive
legislation. To learn more about the meeting and the bill go to
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/wy/200808120.asp . At the meeting, city
officials demonstrated confusion about the status of homeschoolers in
Wyoming. Some thought that homeschoolers had to "be in school" during
the same hours as public schools. Others suggested issuing
"homeschooler ID cards." City officials argued that that
homeschoolers are "exempt" from the regulation since they are excused
from being present in public schools. While this is true, there is no
way a police officer can determine if a minor is homeschooled without
accosting them--the very thing we are trying to prevent.

With this curfew in place, your children could potentially 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. Minors found guilty on their
first offense will be subject to a $750 dollar fine and up to six
months in prison. It is the responsibility of parents and school
officials to make sure that children are in school, not the police.
If a minor is committing a crime, of course, they should be arrested.
However, putting minors in jail or fining them for not being in
school, and not other crime, makes no sense at all--especially in the
United States of America. This kind of ordinance invites profiling of
all kind and invites "selective enforcement" where laws are not
applied equally to all.

We need you to share this information with as many people as possible,
and we encourage you to both attend the next council meeting and to
express your opposition to the curfew to city officials. If you don't
act, this ordinance will be adopted.


ACTION REQUESTED

Attend the second reading of this ordinance at the Rock Springs City
Council meeting on Tuesday, August 19, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. The meeting
will be in the City Hall at 212 D Street, in the Council Chambers.
The Council will be hearing a first reading of the proposed ordinance.
Please attend to express your opposition to this unnecessary
ordinance. If you wish to speak, you will have up to 3 minutes. The
public is invited to speak during the "petitions" portion of the
meeting which occurs during the earlier part. This is the only time
that the public is allowed to speak during the meeting. The reading
on the proposed ordinance would occur at the end of the meeting. See
the background section below to assist you in preparing your remarks.

Please contact the mayor and Council president to share with them your
concerns about the proposed ordinance. Take a moment also to read the
ordinance. Their contact information is as follows:

Mayor Timothy A. Kaumo
Phone 352-1510
Fax 352-1516

Council President David Tate, Ward 4
382-1882

Give them this message in your own words: "This curfew is unnecessary
(police already have the authority they need to deal with truancy
issues). Furthermore, a curfew would unreasonably restrain my
family's freedom and subject my children to unreasonable and
unconstitutional restraint." You might also mention your concerns
about selective enforcement, profiling and the severity of the
punishment. There is no need to mention you are a homeschooler.

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.

BACKGROUND

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 year, 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.

> Twelve-year-old Jacob,* another 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.

Daytime curfews interfere with the 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/docs/nche/Issues/D/Daytime_Curfews.asp

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely,

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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