Sun Banner Pride
September 27, 2001

Daytime Curfew Defeated in Ohio

Daytime Curfew is Dead
By Beau Dusz, Correspondent
Sun Banner Pride (Wadsworth, Ohio)
September 13, 2001

An attempt to impose a daytime curfew to deter truancy has died an ignominious death.

After winding through the safety committee, being read five times on the council floor, assailed by numerous critics and confronted with a letter from the Home School Legal Defense Association, the proposed legislation has been removed from its agenda by City Council.

Law Director Norman Brague advised council not to adopt the ordinance because it could lead to expensive litigation.

Under the proposal, persons between the ages of 6 and 18 could not be on city streets between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on days school was in session except under certain circumstances.

Opponents claimed the curfew would be unconstitutional, restrictive and would promote age profiling because it singled out those bearing those age characteristics to possible police interrogation if they were on the streets during school days.

According to an Aug. 16 letter from the Home School Legal Defense Association, the ordinance was "constitutionally defective" for a number of reasons.

The ordinance violates minors' fundamental right to travel and move about freely, violates the search and seizure protections of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, violates the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children and is unconstitutionally vague.

In an opinion in reply to Councilman Donald Baker, Brague said adoption of the ordinance "appears likely to result in litigation in federal court to determine its validity and potentially expose the city of Wadsworth to considerable expense including the attorney fees for those challenging the ordinance if they prevail."

He did say the decision as to whether the reasons for adopting the ordinance are compelling enough to justify the potential burdens and expenses of federal court litigation is a basic policy decision.

The Home School Legal Defense Association said the great variance of school hours among private schools and students being educated at home would cause the ordinance to restrain the otherwise lawful and harmless conduct of many Wadsworth youths and it appeared Wadsworth was hastily following other jurisdictions that have attempted to enact similar ordinances without the requisite statistical support.

Also, according to the association's letter, private schools and home schools do not have to march to the beat of the public school schedule. But, the demonstrated consequence of marching to a different beat is that privately educated children are subject to repeated police stops and interrogation.

Reprinted with permission of Sun Newspapers, Valley View, Ohio.

 Other Resources

Memorandum In Opposition To Proposed Wadsworth Ordinance Establishing A Daytime Curfew