Poll: Whadya Think About City's Daytime Curfew?

sylviatexas1March 24, 2009

Step- or any families:

Dallas is getting a lot of heat from the ACLU & from parents about the new "daytime curfew", which says that any unaccompanied child who is in public between something like 9 AM & 2 PM on a school day is in violation of the law & can be arrested by a police officer.

Kids who are with a parent or guardian are not subject to the curfew.

The city & the school district say that they expect it to reduce the truancy rate by at least 25%, maybe as much as 45%, & to reduce malicious mischief, vandalism, etc as well.

Opponents say it makes criminals of children & will tie up police time that could be spent investigating or preventing crime;

the ACLU says it's a violation of children's rights.

I don't know what to think-

I'm all in favor of civil rights...

but does the curfew violate civil rights, or does it help keep kids in school & out of trouble (& out of other people's homes & cars!)


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I dont approve of cutting school, but it shouldnt be a criminal offense.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 4:18PM
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What do they mean by arrest? Are they planning to book them? Meaning photograph, fingerprint and toss into a cell? I doubt it. It seems more likely that they're going to get them off the street and then either return them to the proper school or get a hold of the parents.

It sort of seems like the midnight curfew we have here (in Houston) where kids under 18 should not be out after midnight. Of course there are exceptions for school events, work, etc. My son (now over 18) used to work at a movie theatre while in high school and routinely got home after midnight on weekend nights. He never got stopped. They were really looking for kids doing things they shouldn't be doing. He was driving home, not breaking any laws or causing trouble, so there was no reason to stop him.

On the other hand kids doing things they shouldn't be doing probably did get stopped. I don't think the police here go out of their way to look for under 18 yo kids after midnight. More likely, they're on the lookout for potential trouble situations like a bunch of kids hanging out in a park or parking lot for example.

So, I can see reason for the law in Dallas. If kids are out of school for legitimate reasons, work, doctor appointment, etc. they're not going to get arrested, and maybe not even stopped because there's not much reason to stop them. If they're hanging out somewhere with no clear purpose, or getting into some trouble, then I don't see anything wrong with redirecting them to school or home as appropriate. I'm assuming that's the intent of the law.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:02PM
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If we were ever caught out in public by an officer during a school day our parents were called. It definitly deterred some kids from cutting school. I don't think it should go on a kids permanent record but I definitly don't think a school age kid should be out and about during a school day either. I guess it all depends on how big of a problem is it in your area. Do the benefits outweigh the cons? That's a tough decision!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:48PM
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It's unreasonable because of home-schoolers.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:29PM
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Sorry, I support it. Kids, even home schooled kids, need to be supervised so they don't get into trouble. I can't imagine why kids need to be roaming around during the day or night and if there is a problem with juvenile crime (which is probably why they feel the need to implement this law) then of course they should have the option to arrest violators of the curfew. The post says they 'may' arrest which to me is interpreted as using discretion. If kids are causing trouble in the community, then the police absolutely need to have support! It doesn't take away from real crime if they are investigating juveniles that are at risk for graduating to bigger crimes if nobody stops them.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:43PM
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Kids, even home schooled kids, need to be supervised so they don't get into trouble.

A home-schooled kid is no more likely to get into trouble between the hours of 9 and 2 than a public school kid is likely to get into trouble between the hours of 2 and 6.

If a public school kid is allowed to be in public places unsupervised outside of public school hours, then a home-schooled kid should be allowed to be in public places unsupervised outside of home-schooled hours. There are home-schooled kids with a legitimate need to keep nontraditional school hours. Those kids have as much a right to access public places during their free time as public school students do.

I think there are better ways to address truancy. If students are skipping school, then that's negligence on the part of the parents and that should be addressed by arresting the parents.

If kids are causing trouble in the community, then absolutely the police should have support. Community members need to report kids who are vandalizing, loitering, etc., and that needs to be addressed by police with the support of the community.

My kids are public school students, but there is a large contingency of home-schoolers here. This curfew would not be practical here.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:43PM
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In my area parents are held responsible after a certain amount of times parents can be arrested.... which is better in my opinion.

I have a serious problem with how often we are arresting children and how often we are charging minors as adults. A kindergartener who gets into a fight at school should not be arrested and an 8 year old who commits a crime should not be charged as an adult. They are children for a reason. There are better ways to help solve problems with juvenile violence and crimes then sending them to jail.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:45PM
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I agree with Ima. Police are not going to shift their focus off speeders, shoplifters, or other crimes to cruise the street looking for unaccompanied minors. It would give them a reason to stop and talk to a group of teenagers off school grounds during school hours. That alone could reduce crime in the community.

I think there are situations where kids make themselves suspect, and the reason for such laws. The large group hanging out on a corner, at the park and ride, or at the mall should be questioned and their parents contacted. Parents should be held accountable for their children.

A teenager taking him or herself to an orthodontist appointment, or to a part time job would draw no attention to themselves, and more than likely would find no penalty under such a curfew.

I don't see it s a public shool vs. home school issue at all. It's my experience that home schooled kids are typically not the hoodlum type of kids a daytime curfew would intercept from breaking into my car at the mall.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:56PM
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Well, calling it a "daytime curfew" probably isn't helping their case. Why don't they just call it what it is? It's nothing new...been doing it for years. It's called truancy enforcement. I'm all for it. Kids need to be in school. Home-schooled kids need to be with their parent or homeschool group on an organized outing. Why does the ACLU care? And just what rights do children have that they feel need protecting? The right to education is at the top of the list. If the kid is out roaming the streets (or mall!), they clearly need someone to protect that right!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 6:45AM
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The same rules would apply to homeschooled children, wouldn't they?

ie, if the child was in the company of the parent/teacher, he/she wouldn't be in violation of the law.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 4:45PM
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I think it is a good idea, but I think they should take them to the station and call their parents the first time. Arrest them next time. I really believe this will help with truancy and vandalism. The kids in our city are stealing and tearing things up for the fun of it. Pity the poor person who leaves their garage door open.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 10:07PM
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What happened to good old truancy? What's the difference?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 10:26AM
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Well I do think that between 9am and 2pm kids should be in school...whether it home-school or regular school. So I don't see how this should be much of a problem anyways!

I do think that it will be tricky though to keep track of school holidays when kids would be out during that time.

And I think that warnings should be given the first time and maybe tickets with fines and court appearances the next few times. If that has not worked then maybe arresting the child because obviously they are ditching school and do not care about the consequences.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 10:37AM
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"What happened to good old truancy? What's the difference?"

With home schooling, it takes too long to verify if a kid is home schooled. It's too easy for a truant kid to say "I'm home schooled". It would also take up too much time to look it up each time, if this is a first time or fifth time a kid has been stopped and talked to. How can you give a kid a 'warning' the first time without looking it up? It would be to time consuming. I assume they would only be stopping kids that are loitering or causing problems and/or have complaints or in problem areas.

A kid running an errand or behaving responsibly is not going to elicit attention to get stopped and I doubt the police are going to use the law to harass kids when they have bigger fish to fry.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 11:15AM
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How old is a "child" in this situation? I was homeschooled and we weren't out in public between those hours without an adult (and rarely out in public without an adult anyway).

I don't see how it would be harder to verify home schooling than it would to be to verify spring break or school holiday. In my area we have tens of elementary schools and they almost all have different breaks. How many school-age children know the school's phone number for the officer to check? But most kids know their home number for the officer to check homeschool status.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 2:03PM
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"kindergartener who gets into a fight at school should not be arrested and an 8 year old who commits a crime should not be charged as an adult. They are children for a reason. There are better ways to help solve problems with juvenile violence and crimes then sending them to jail."

I agree with this but only to an extent. If the 8 year old didn't just get into a fight but BEAT another child to death....well. To me that's a different story.

All of these kids bringing guns to school and shooting their teachers....scary. Those kids are too far gone to ever amount to anyting but trouble. Sorry, the kid is evil and Yes there is such a thing as a bad child.

Can you imagine? Eight and already shooting people in the face!? I believe in bad blood and a child who would do this has just that. You can believe the older they get the worse they will get.

At 8 you know it is wrong to shoot and kill someone. There just isn't any way around it. That kid needs to be locked up SOMEWHERE for others safety.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Being forced to go to a place one hates eight hours a day is not a right, but a violation of one's right to be left alone by the government.

One of the fundamental rights of this great nation of ours is the right to come and go as one pleases and not have to give account to some government bureaucrat about what we're doing.

To say that a person must "earn" that right by being over a certain age is un-American. Our rights are an entitlement from birth, not a privilege that must be earned.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 11:22AM
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To some extent, I think the 'law' is posturing, since it's already covered by other laws. It makes them sound 'tough' but Texas already does appear (to us outsiders) to have its own quaint tilt on the law.

Having said that, here in British Columbia, they do not seem to have the resources- presumably they have the law- to enforce school attendance, schools are perhaps not powerless to enforce it, but teachers do not want to be police, either.

My wife, a teacher, basically says, child services will not get involved and are not automatically informed of poor school attendance, and would not act unless other more tangible 'neglect' was suspected, or a formal complaint was made. In this situation, it would be good to see school districts employ a good-old truant officer, who would monitor attendance anomalies, and follow up with the family.

I don't believe in a nanny state, but believe that rights and responsibilities, and protection of consumers etc should be protected, however, as I say this law seems to be posturing but it does have the effect of criminalising children.

I think it would be a good idea to look at whether current laws are protecting, or making things worse. At the risk of creating a separate debate, I think that includes weapons laws, or the lack of them, permission to carry concealed weapons etc. As I said, existing laws ought to cover things, and apart from police using their common sense, they should not be expected to enforce truant laws etc. There may be other reasons why a kid's not in school, for example family illness, or tourism. This just seems to escalate things.

As for parenting, however, I'm not against making parents more accountable, not to the extent of the 'ridicule' punishment US courts sometimes hand out.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 3:30PM
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