Should a free citizen ever be afraid to walk, and be present, within their own community, without the fear of interrogation from government? It seems the town of Hollister, Missouri would rather interrogate and incarcerate its law abiding youth than work to fight juvenile crime. Daytime curfews have become all the rage across the country. Are they an easy solution to an out of control crime situation? Has juvenile crime become so severe that the town needs to go on lock down during daytime hours? Or should law enforcement find more effective ways to identify criminal activity and stop harassing citizens without probable cause?
HSLDA issued this action item today. Please read it and contact the authorities below, even if you don’t live in Hollister. Send a message that Missourians don’t do business this way.
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,
Your help is urgently needed to block an effort in Hollister, MO, to pass an ordinance that would make it a crime for young people to be in a public place during public school hours.
Daytime curfews do not accomplish what the proponents claim. They have a disproportionate impact on homeschool families because we allow our children free time while public schools are in session.
Homeschoolers have been harassed and made fearful by policemen who treat them like suspected criminals for doing nothing more than being in public. Daytime curfews often give rise to litigation.
1. If you live in Hollister please stand up for freedom by immediately calling the two aldermen for your ward and the mayor (contact information is listed below) to express your opposition to the daytime curfew proposal. If you ever plan to visit Hollister, call any alderman. Your message can be as simple as:
“Please oppose the daytime curfew. It will reduce freedom, but it will not reduce crime.”
Or you can express your opposition in your own words.
2. Please pass this on to other area families, as well!
Alderman Ward I, David Honey
161 Trent St, Point Lookout, 65672
Alderman Ward I, Jim Davidson
PO Box 1876, Hollister, 65673
Alderman Ward II, Phil Carman
363 Greenbriar Lane, Hollister, 65672
Alderman Ward II, David Willard
406 Knox Ave., Hollister, 65672
Mayor David Tate
155 Jones St., Hollister, 65673
1. Daytime curfews do not deter juvenile crime.
A recent California study compared the juvenile crime rates of counties that enforced curfew ordinances and counties that did not. The crime rates were the same. The curfews had no effect on juvenile crime.
After the city of Belvidere, Illinois, enacted a daytime curfew in 1996, chronic truancy surged by an astonishing 72% over the next 10 years.
2. Daytime curfews allow searches without probable cause.
The Fourth Amendment forbids any investigation of a citizen without a “probable cause.” The proposed ordinance allows policemen to stop and interrogate a person merely because he looks young enough to be violating the curfew. It is an invitation to harass homeschool families.
3. Daytime curfews assume a person is guilty until proven innocent.
In several incidents where homeschool students were stopped by police, they had done nothing to arouse suspicion. There was no evidence they had committed a crime or intended to. Nonetheless, the police interrogated them and treated them like criminals until they had proved their innocence.
4. The ordinance allows some exceptions, including an exception for homeschooled children who are in a public place with parental permission. Unfortunately, the only way for a policeman to determine if an exception applies is to stop and interrogate the frightened young person. By then the damage has already been done. The child may be afraid to go outdoors again. The right to homeschool includes the right to be free from fear—especially for young people, who are most vulnerable to feelings of fear.
5. The Hollister City Council discussed a draft version of a daytime curfew on October 4.
6. HSLDA and Families for Home Education are united in opposing this ordinance.
Thank you for standing with us for freedom in Missouri!
Scott A. Woodruff
Senior Counsel, HSLDA