Yesterday, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett proposed setting a curfew on teenagers under 18, raising concerns about how young people are treated here and around the country.Expedited Bill 25-11 (PDF) would bar minors from being in public in Montgomery County after 11 pm on weeknights, and after midnight on weekends.Be specific with your expectations and concise with consequences for breaking curfew.
Exceptions would be made for young people coming home from work, attending a school or church activity, or those accompanied by a parent or other authorized adult, and anyone caught breaking curfew would be taken to the nearest police station.
While it’s true that curfews in other cities have sometimes successfully reduced crime (PDF), many feel they are unnecessarily restrictive and discriminatory against teenagers.
There are three main types of curfew laws: juvenile curfew laws, emergency curfew laws, and business curfew laws. Juvenile curfew laws are typically enacted at the state and local level, and prohibit people of a certain age (usually under 18) from being in public or in a business establishment during certain hours (such as between p.m. Goals behind these laws are frequently cited as maintenance of social order, and prevention of juvenile crime.
More information on Juvenile Curfew Laws: Emergency curfews are usually temporary orders that are put in place -- by federal, state, or local government -- in response to a particular crisis, like a natural disaster or ongoing civil disturbance.
Though your teenager may act offended and not understand the point of having a curfew, there are plenty of reasons to stand your ground on this issue.
His safety, health and well-being are all part of this equation.
Balancing interests Because assembly involves free expression, the congregational aspects of this First Amendment guarantee fit neatly in the “time, place, and manner” doctrine set forth in a 1937 case that reversed a conviction under Oregon’s criminal syndicalism statute because it was based on mere attendance at an orderly meeting of the Communist Party.) However, this protection does not immunize the gathering from generally applicable health, safety and welfare laws designed to protect private property, eliminate litter, curb visual blight, facilitate traffic, control noise or minimize congestion.
Though the time-place-manner concept may be easily articulated, associational interests still present challenges when the doctrine is applied.
We've all had experience with curfews: as the teenager rushing out of the house, or as the parent calling out "Be home by midnight!