The boy's heading out the door, about to begin his first day of first grade -- meaning, at least, he'll be off the streets when the police start sweeping up young'uns on this first day of the Daytime Juvenile Curfew. Passed 12-2 by the Dallas City Council last May, the ordinance takes effect, technically, at 9 a.m. this morning -- meaning, anyone under 17 seen roaming the streets between then and 2:30 p.m. is eligible for a police officer's what-for with a max penalty of $500. Reminds the city of Dallas, this is how the curfew works:
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Upon encountering a possible violator, the police officer is obliged to determine if the student has a legitimate reason to be off campus, as allowed in the ordinance. For example, the student's school may not be in session, or the student is on an approved field trip. If one of the numerous exceptions applies, and no other reason exists to detain the student, he or she is free to go.
Recognizing that the goal is to change truant behavior, City of Dallas prosecutors plan to recommend to the courts that most minors and their parents or guardians be given the opportunity to take relevant courses or workshops in lieu of paying a fine. Owners, operators or employees of a business can also be cited for knowingly allowing a minor to be on the premises during curfew hours. Violators will be warned first, and only cited after repeat offenses.