Daytime Curfew: Just Say No

img_4298_2Love the Kunkle. So what I’m about to say is with all due respect to the points he articulated for Unfair Park.

Dallas doesn’t need a daytime curfew for juveniles. And there are five reasons.

1) It. Is. Not. Necessary. Police already have the power to stop, detain, and deliver truants back to schools. We don’t need to criminalize truancy, and we don’t need to stack $500 fines that will fall disproportionately on the people who can’t afford them, just adding to their cycle of poverty and being in dutch with the law. (Yeah, I know, I’m not supposed to care much about the poor — smell like old milk and they don’t buy ads — but I certainly do care when it’s government piling on them.)

2) We are given a list of “defenses” to the fine — With permission of the student’s school subject to confirmation, medical excuse subject to confirmation, etc. Key words there are “subject to confirmation.” Meaning the police will be able to detain the kid (or an adult who looks young), issue the citation, and put people through the headache of the legal process even when they shouldn’t be. As a negative bonus, this sends a great message to kids — you are not a citizen, but a subject. Which brings me to…

3) Children are not the property of the city of Dallas, the school district, Texas, or the United States. The first two full sentences I taught my daughter were “I am not the property of the state. My life is my own.” (Ask my wife; I ain’t kidding you.) Kids are wards of their parents, in whose trust their rights are placed until they are of legal age.

4) This is a feel-good, do-nothing-but-harass-people initiative backed by clueless elected officials who want to look like they’re doing something.

5) Show of hands — who thinks this $500 fine part has nothing to do with the city’s $100 million budget deficit? Anyone? Anyone?


  1. Nomad says:

    this is even worse than than the photo-radars that have been springing up like weeds all over phoenix… which also has everything to do with the state budget, which just happened to go up after all freeway speed limits were mysteriously decreased by 10mph. We’re becoming a people by the government, for the government apparently.

  2. Rawlins Gilliland says:

    Well, the DISD kids may not be my ‘property’ but as a Dallas property owner who has throughout my adult span lifetime paid year after year through the rear those ‘school taxes’ to educate other people’s children (I have zero of my own)……..I sorta think it’s odd to hear that they owe me nothing and I have no say in whether they attend school or their parents are penalized (God forbid) for not seeing to it that their kids attend the mandatory (until 17 is it?) classrooms my mandatory school/property Dallas taxes pay to educate them.

    FYI, I’d make the penalty cumulative. $75-100 first truancy. Then $150. etc., etc. Enough to hurt but to your point (which I really don’t believe IS your point actually) these are not likely people of means by any means. So make the fines, if any, realistic and progressive for inevitable repeat offenses.

    PS: I have paid in actual accumulated decade after decade dollars 20% more to my Dallas school taxes ….in my adult life…more total than it cost me to attend university 6 full years. Total. If these kids are free to ignore the no-strings-attached PUBLIC education I and others (including you in Plano) provided them, do I (we) get a refund? Retroactive?

    You cannot have it both ways; accept public education as your matter-of-fact birthright and then say you owe the public actually funding your education system nada. Frankly, I think the only people who should pay school taxes are those with children. How bout that deal? Fair is fair………right?

  3. Bravo Trey, someone brought up an interesting point at a meeting I was at last night. (Dallas Libertarian Beer Lovers Caucus).

    Which was basically, “why do we fight so hard to keep kids who don’t want to be in school… in school?”

    After all, these are the kids that make it impossible for the other kids to learn, that constantly harass and disrupt, and as a general rule bring down the level of education over all.

    Now I realize that is harsh so what is the answer for those kids? That their parents take some sort of personal responsibility for their lives, and their children’s lives. Not the state.

    Shouldn’t school be looked at as a privilege? A chance for opportunity? I think it should. For those who abuse it, or do not want it, well… all the better education for the rest.

    At some point people will realize that they have an opportunity to better their lives or their children’s lives, if they have just enough huxba to try.

    I don’t know that this is really the answer, but…. I know what isn’t:
    The Daytime Curfew, and few illustrate that better than you.

  4. “You cannot have it both ways; accept public education as your matter-of-fact birthright”

    I don’t see it as a right.

    “Frankly, I think the only people who should pay school taxes are those with children. How bout that deal?”

    I like that a lot. Why should you have to pay for my kid’s education?

    Education is a service like any other, and those who want it should pay for it.

    There’s no such thing as a right to something other’s have to provide, unless you support theft and slavery, which none of us does, except when it comes with a government label.

  5. Daniel says:

    Trey, following your argument to its logical conclusion, only the well-off — or the upper half, at any rate — would be able to educate their kids. And intelligence and talent are not concentrated in the well-off (or upper half). It’s not that it wouldn’t be fair (although it’s certainly true enough that it wouldn’t), it’s that our civilization would be wasting its greatest resource — its human talent.

    I mean, come on, man.

  6. Daniel says:


    Public education is civilization’s investment in its own future. You may not have kids, you may not like kids (although I suspect you do), but we need fresh blood to toil for The Man, Inc. and then spend their paycheck on electronic gizmos made by Gizmo Corp. – A Division of The Man, Inc. Without an educated workforce, we all suffer a loss of gizmos and the Indians get gizmos instead, which makes us mad.

    Mad and gizmo-less is no way to go through life, and people who talk funny getting gizmos is un-American and is getting me mad right now even thinking about it.

  7. I suppose I would be more concerned with the fate of public education is they weren’t popping out generation after generation of imbeciles…all one has to do is look at the current elected government and what is happening economically to see that the electorate isn’t smart enough anymore to make a valid choice. We have to have teams to do what individuals used to do…not because the tasks are more complex but because the people are less so….when I have to correct and grade resumes from MBA’s who can’t write a coherent sentence and when people so apparent intelligence looks at the world and the history of the 20th century and decides that the best way to proceed is to print money and make the goverment more powerful…I know that public education is an abject failure and it will be easier to reinvent it than to fix what is there.

  8. Jim Hubbell says:

    If teenagers don’t want to be in school, then why should they be forced? They weren’ t when I was of that age. Someone has to pick up the garbage and someone has to clean out the sewer . Neither position requires any familiarity with Silas Marner nor the sine of 37°. There’s no point in spending money on kids who will end up as hoodlums or no-hopers no matter how long they disrupt the classroom or play hooky.

  9. Been following this and other US curfew debates as these are gaining ground in the UK, thanks to our version of politicians who dream up ‘snap solutions’ regardless of whose rights they tread on in the process.

    You have a Constitution, of which we hear a great deal. (We don’t have one ….) Can I suggest that if someone printed a whole load of cards and gave them out to kids and parents who object, it might help the ‘ditch it’ campaign? For example: “My name is XXXXXXX and I live at YYYYYYY and my parents know I am out at this time exercising my First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights in protest against the City’s Youth Curfew Ordinances”. The fact that a kid might be on his/her way to e.g. a party or friends does not make this idea some form of ruse, it’s exactly what the point is, that kids should be able to go to such activities and that any decision on this is for parents not the authorities.

  10. Susana (Aka a real teen) says:

    okay i totally agree with you this new daytime curfew is just bs its not gonna work why when the state or senate or who makes this laws have a freken clue no offense but come on you people have to look at the big picture before actually making laws its a lil thing called get a clue how do you think it would affect teens, parents and basically everyone imagen when you guys where teens and you had a curfew maybe you dindt like it or you didnt mined or youll say “Oh it was a diffrent time back then” thats not the deal we cant just be charged for nothing we see that the economy is down people are losing there huoses there having to cut down people are losing jobs and some bearly are able to pay there bills and rent why would the gopverment want to add more debt to people everythings comes togher there is always a reason why a law is made yea maybe smoe teens are doing bad things out there but not all so the next time the goverment wants to make a nother law or a “daytime curfew” then look at tne possibilities that can happen always be a step forward and really think hard if that is such a great idea and rember that teens do have a voice and we are stayin true to our selfs amybe some people should learn about that……….. Thank You

  11. Susana (Aka a real teen) says:

    for the comment above sorry i mist spelled some words