by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
Homeschoolers were among a group that took part in an anti-curfew rally held this weekend at the Bedford City Hall in Bedford, Texas.
Opponents to the curfew claim that it criminalizes children simply for being in public during daytime hours. One opponent stated that it is nothing more than governmental intrusion into how parents dictate the activities of their own children.
The city ordinance, which states that children under 17 are not to be in a public place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on school days, was put into place as a way to crack down on truants. Bedford Mayor, Jim Story, says that the ordinance does not violate civil liberties and is effective at keeping kids in school.
Story stated that being with parents or being homeschooled does not violate the ordinance. However, whether or not to issue a citation is up to the discretion of police officers. The citation comes with a hefty $500 fine.
I understand what the ordinance is in place for. However, Story says being homeschooled does not violate the ordinance. Okay, but how do they know if a child is homeschooled? It isn’t like our children have a big letter H painted on their foreheads.
If a police officer sees some kids hanging out at a neighborhood park, how does he know if they are truant or homeschoolers? He could ask them but is he honestly going to take their word for it? I’m just wondering how this type of ordinance is enforced without stepping on civil liberties. Any homeschooled child who is outside is instantly suspicious. So, how can they not feel criminalized by this ordinance?
City officials are happy with the results of the ordinance but the city council plans to review the policy again in July.
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