September 12, 2002

HSLDA Opposes Daytime Curfew in Court

On September 11, 2002, Home School Legal Defense Association once again stood before the California Court of Appeals, defending homeschoolers' rights to move about freely. General Counsel Michael Farris argued that a daytime curfew in Monrovia violated state education law by usurping the role of the state legislature and should be struck down because it violates parents' constitutional rights.

Five years ago, faced with growing truancy rates, the city of Monrovia enacted a citywide ban on school-age children being in public places during school hours. Soon after this, HSLDA filed suit, challenging the curfew on behalf of five families whose children had been stopped and interrogated over 25 times by Monrovia police enforcing the restrictive law.

"Monrovia's daytime curfew is not only antithetical to basic principles of freedom, it just doesn't work to reduce juvenile crime, dropouts, or truancy," said Farris, who argued the case. Indeed, HSLDA's research while doing this case found that while other legal methods of reducing truancy were working, such as hiring extra attendance officers, the daytime curfew had no such effect.

Farris said that he was subjected to vigorous questioning by the three judges hearing the case. He was able to spend a good deal of time explaining HSLDA's position that the California Legislature has exclusive jurisdiction over truancy, and that Monrovia has no authority to circumvent the process that the legislature has enacted for dealing with children not in school.

The fate of Monrovia's daytime curfew is now in the hands of the Court of Appeals. HSLDA will keep you updated on its progress.

 Other Resources

Harrahill v. City of Monrovia