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12/18/2008 4:49:14 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Ohio--Your Help Needed to Defeat Proposed Daytime Curfew in Lakewood

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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December 18, 2008

Ohio--Your Help Needed to Defeat Proposed Daytime Curfew in Lakewood

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

A daytime curfew has been proposed in Lakewood, Ohio. This
legislation undermines the freedom and liberty we enjoy in the United
States.

On Monday, December 15, 2008, Lakewood Mayor Ed FitzGerald proposed a
daytime curfew ordinance, which would affect all minors who are in
public places during public school hours on a school day. The
following exceptions would exempt a minor from the curfew:

* The minor has written proof from school authorities that he or she
is excused from school attendance at that particular time;
* The minor is accompanied by his or her parent/guardian or a
responsible adult selected by the parent/guardian to supervise the
child;
* The minor is participating in an approved work-study program, during
the hours of such work-study assignment; or
* The minor is on an emergency errand or conducting some other
legitimate business.

The ordinance also states that, "It shall be an affirmative defense to
this division that the minor is not required by state law to be in
attendance at school."

For more information about the proposed curfew, see
http://hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=5936

To view the text of the proposed ordinance click on the following
link: http://hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=5937

With this curfew in place, your children could be accosted by police
and potentially taken to the local police station to verify who they
are and that they have a valid excuse to be in a public place. And
even if they have a valid excuse they still may be stopped and
questioned by local authorities. Any parent or legal guardian who
violates the ordinance could be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

ACTION REQUESTED

If you live in the Lakewood area we encourage you to get involved and
oppose this intrusive and unnecessary legislation. HSLDA Staff
Attorney Michael Donnelly is available to discuss strategy and tactics
with anyone interested in opposing this curfew. HSLDA has found that
an organized coalition is often helpful in defeating this legislation.
HSLDA is following this legislation and will inform you of further
developments as hearings are scheduled.

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-yr-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.

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://hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2102

A strategy packet for defeating daytime curfews can be found at:
http://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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