Council to Consider Extending Juvenile Curfew Ordinance to Include School Hours

Just one month ago we recounted the history of Dallas's 18-year-old Juvenile Curfew Ordinance, which keeps 17-and-unders off the streets from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:01 a.m. till 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Long story short, it wound up in court on its way to becoming "a model ordinance for other communities," as the Harvard Law Review put it in 2005. So, no need to revisit ancient history this morning, not when the present's so much more interesting.

At noon today, the council's Public Safety Committee will discuss modifying the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance to include the hours during which kids should be in school. Says the doc, the curfew would extend from 9 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are, of course, exceptions -- like, when there's no school. But the briefing document says that extending the curfew is necessary because "a high rate of truancy exists in the city that significantly contributes to the number of incidences of juvenile crime, juvenile violence, and juvenile gang activity occurring during school hours ... [and that] the establishment of daytime curfew hours for minors will help combat truancy, thereby reducing juvenile crime, juvenile violence and juvenile gang activity during school hours."

Right now, public hearings are scheduled for March 25 and April 22. After the second, the council will vote on the proposal.

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