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March 4, 2010

Salem Citizens Defeat Daytime Curfew

Shortly after regional superintendent Keri Garret announced in a Centralia Sentinel article that she “would like to see more monitoring of homeschooled students,” an alert HSLDA member told us that a daytime curfew was under consideration in Salem, part of Garret’s region.

The proposal had the backing of the police chief, the city manager, and of course Keri Garret. HSLDA sent out an e-lert asking homeschool families to attend the next City Council meeting.

A loose coalition of citizens quickly formed to stop the ordinance. At the next council meeting, four of them spoke, one each on these topics:

  • The questionable constitutionality of the proposal;
  • Motivation as “backdoor registration” of homeschoolers;
  • New liabilities it would create for business owners;
  • And the general ineffectiveness of daytime curfews.

The City Council seemed stunned by the organized and articulate opposition. One councilmember announced that the daytime curfew proposal reeked of socialism. And it soon came to light that Garret wanted the ordinance because she was upset that hundreds of families had pulled their kids out of public school to homeschool them. But she was forced to admit that there was actually no significant truancy problem in Salem. And the only noteworthy vandalism—spray-painting—probably occurred at night.

The citizens coalition and other homeschool parents continued to press their opposition even after the council meeting, while always remaining courteous. Soon the police chief decided he had heard enough. He withdrew his support. He told the City Council the proposal should be dropped.

The City Council subsequently followed the chief’s recommendation. And the mayor announced that the daytime curfew ordinance was dead.

But Keri Garret never backed down from her wish for more monitoring of homeschoolers. And the Sentinel refused to print a letter from HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff rebutting Garret’s assertion that “monitoring” would be desirable. So while the daytime curfew is dead, those who wish to take away personal freedoms and enlarge the government’s power are still alive and kicking.