Sometimes a new law is proposed that seems like a good idea, but when you look into it, it’s not. The proposed daytime curfew law for the county of Contra Costa is just that. In an effort to curb truancy, the City of Concord recently put into law that all children between legal school age and 18 must be in school between the hours of 8am and 3pm. If they are not, then they or their parents could be fined. If the law passes in Contra Costa, then Alameda County will soon consider it.
While truancy is certainly a problem, the solution is not a daytime curfew law. Let me tell you why.
The law proposes that between the hours of 8am and 3pm children can be cited for being outside of a school building without an adult. Here are some occasions when your child can be stopped and questioned by a member of the police.
- Your 17 year old has graduated
- Your senior finishes school at 12 noon
- Your child’s school finishes before 3pm
- Your child is late for school and is walking without a parent
- Your child is 19 or 20, but looks younger
- Your child goes to a private school which has different days off from the local public school
- Your child receives part of his education in school and part in a community college and takes public transport to travel from one to the other
If San Ramon has a daytime curfew and your children are in a Pleasanton public school, they cannot be in San Ramon on a day that the San Ramon school children are in school. If your children have a day off school and wish to visit a nearby city, you will have to check the school vacation schedule before doing do.
While the law that is being proposed has many exclusions, it just gives the police more reasons to stop people and ask for identity. People who are doing nothing wrong are being asked to prove they are allowed to be out in public. Is that the kind of society you want to live in?
I am personally against this because I see it as a loss of freedom for homeschoolers. Homeschool teens do get themselves to classes without parents, or meet in the park without adults present. Whether or not you agree with homeschooling, it should be the concern of every American when freedoms are reduced. But really, isn’t it also a waste of public money to have the police driving round the streets and asking people to prove they are legally allowed to be outside of a school building?
As things currently stand, homeschoolers do get stopped and questioned by the police when they are out in public during a school day. Passing of this law will only make it worse.
This is not the solution to truancy
Children who are truant are usually unmotivated because school is irrelevant for them. The solution to truancy is to improve the schools and motivate the students, not to introduce a law like this one.