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3/24/2009 10:41:54 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Texas: Calls Need to Stop Restrictive Daytime Curfew

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Texas: Calls Need to Stop Restrictive Daytime Curfew

Dear HSLDA Members:

We need your help to stop a restrictive curfew from being enacted in
Dallas.

Public hearings will be conducted on March 25 and April 22. The vote
on adopting a new version of the ordinance will be on April 22.

This ordinance has no clear exceptions for homeschoolers and simply
adds to their nighttime curfew the language, "9:00 a.m. until 2:30
p.m. on any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday." This
language would be added to the existing ordinance under the definition
of curfew hours. Police officers and truant officers can issue a
citation to a child for a fine not to exceed $500.

Currently there are at least 25 other curfews in cities throughout
Texas. Homeschoolers working together have been able to stop many
curfews when they find out about them in advance. We need you to call
your council members immediately in order to prevent the Dallas
daytime curfew from becoming a reality. We also recommend that you
attend the hearings and sign up to speak out against this.

Daytime curfews are largely ineffective, and we believe they are also
unconstitutional. Homeschoolers who are outside between 9:00 a.m. and
2:30 p.m. could be stopped, fined, and harassed by law enforcement
officers if this curfew is enacted.

ACTION REQUESTED:

1. Please call your council member and give the message below.
2. Please call as many other council members as you can, because the
decision they make will affect you.
3. Please attend the hearing on March 25 and April 22 and sign up to
speak out against the curfew. The public hearings will be held in
Dallas City Hall (1500 Marilla, Dallas) between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00
p.m.

Please tell the council members the following in your own words:

"We do not need a daytime curfew. Curfews are ineffective and harmful
to our freedom. Please vote against the proposed daytime curfew."

You do not need to identify yourself a homeschooler.

Mayor Tom Lippert:
Phone: (214) 670-4054

Dr. Elba Garcia, Mayor Pro Tem, District 1:
Phone: (214) 670-4052

Pauline Medrano, District 2:
Phone: (214) 670-4048

David A. Neumann, District 3:
Phone: (214) 670-0776

Dwaine Caraway, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, District 4:
Phone: (214) 670-0781

Vonciel Jones Hill, District 5:
Phone: (214) 670-0777

Steve Salazar, District 6:
Phone: (214) 670-4199

Carolyn R. Davis, District 7:
Phone: (214) 670-4689

Tennell Atkins, District 8:
Phone: (214) 670-4066

Sheffie Kadane, District 9:
Phone: (214) 670-4069

Jerry R. Allen, District 10:
Phone: (214) 670-4068

Linda Koop, District 11:
Phone: (214) 670-7817

Ron Natinsky, District 12:
Phone: (214) 670-4067

Mitchell Rasansky, District 13:
Phone: (214) 670-3816

Angela Hunt, District 14:
Phone: (214) 670-5415

BACKGROUND:

Daytime curfews violate a minor's fundamental constitutional right to
freedom of movement on the public streets, highways and areas of the
city without being subjected to prior governmental restraint--as
guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

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 U.S.
Constitution.

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 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 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
ID, 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.

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.

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 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 will likely result in registration of privately
educated students with police departments with the attendant issuance
of ID cards and badges.

For a legal memorandum on the unconstitutionality of daytime curfews,
which can be given to Council members, please see our analysis of this
issue at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2102 .

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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