February 16, 2005

Two State Legislatures Push for Daytime Curfews

HSLDA has often faced daytime curfew initiatives, but until recently they have been confined to the local level. This changed in early February, however, when the Illinois and Hawaii legislatures both introduced bills designed to make daytime curfews a statewide reality.

In Hawaii, Senate Bill 1014 would mandate a curfew for the entire state, prohibiting all school-age children from being in public during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Illinois took a slightly different approach in House Bill 1130, adding a sentence to the law specifically giving municipalities power to enact daytime curfews "to help combat truancy in the public schools."

Both of these bills undermine the freedom and liberty currently enjoyed by the citizens of Hawaii and Illinois. If enacted, daytime curfews greatly restrict a child's freedom to be outside during school hours. In order to effectively enforce a daytime curfew police officers have to stop and question all children in public. You would have to be careful sending your 17 year-old daughter to pick up some groceries or letting your 16 year-old son go to music lessons across town.

HSLDA has previously challenged the constitutionality of daytime curfews. These curfews violate a minor's fundamental constitutional right to freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment on the public streets, highways and areas of the city without being subjected to prior governmental restraint. A daytime curfew also results in violations of a minor's Fourth Amendment rights to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. A police officer should not stop and question anyone unless there are actual facts that make it reasonable to suspect that a crime has occurred.

Upon receiving news of these bills, HSLDA sent E-lerts to members in both states asking them to call legislators to express their opposition. An avalanche of calls resulted, and legislators in both states scrambled to concede to the homeschoolers. The Hawaii Senate Committee voted unanimously to table SB 1014, and the House version was also defeated. In Illinois the sponsor quickly promised to hold the bill until a suitable compromise could be worked out. HSLDA will be on the alert to any further attempt on his part to pass the measure.

 Other Resources

Hawaii Senate Bill 1014

Illinois House Bill 1130

Daytime Curfews: Guilty Until Proven Innocent  8/19/2004