Proposed Daytime Curfew — Who Are You Kidding?

I’ve mentioned the proposed Dallas daytime curfew for those under 18 during school hours. Even though police already have the power to take truants into custody, this new curfew would criminalize them and — big surprise here — slap a $500 fine on parents. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Dallas’ budget crisis. Anyway, here’s more on the issue from the Citizens Against a Daytime Curfew. Take it away, Laurel Allen.


Is the proposed daytime curfew necessary?

According to the Texas Education Code, police are already fully empowered to take any child seen in public during school hours into custody in order to determine if they are a juvenile in need of supervision, or if there is probable cause that they are in violation of the compulsory school attendance law under Section 25 of the code. In the process of making that determination, they have the ability to intervene in a manner that requires the involvement of the child’s parent or guardian, the courts or juvenile board, and the school district.


Under the proposed Dallas daytime curfew, a child may be issued a class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 merely for being outside during the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. when school is in session. Parents or guardians may also be cited if their child is in violation of the curfew. In addition, the owner, operator, or any employee of an establishment may be fined if he permits a minor to remain upon the premises of the establishment during curfew hours.

There are no exceptions; rather, there are “defenses to prosecution”. For example, it is a defense to prosecution if a youth is going to or returning from a school-approved work study program, but only without any detour or stop. Translated, this means that your 16 year old may go to and from his work study program, but he stops at a convenience store during curfew hours for a snack on his way to his work study program, you, your child, and the convenience store employee that rings up his purchase are all breaking the curfew and could each be issued a class C misdemeanor with a fine of $500.

To quote Michael Tate, Commentator for KERA, “The notion of a daytime curfew just doesn’t make good sense. It misplaces responsibility and doesn’t address any of the underlying problems that cause a teenager to bail out of their education. Nor does it stop a kid from being a criminal, because it criminalizes them before they’ve committed a real crime.”

Contact Mayor Leppert and your city council person and ask them to vote AGAINST the daytime curfew. The final public hearing is on May 13 at Dallas City Hall, after which the Dallas City Council will cast its vote.

Stop Crime, NOT Freedom!

Laurel McConkey Allen
Citizens Against the Dallas Daytime curfew


  1. Hey Trey,

    Don’t forget the effect on homeschoolers with such truancy laws, such as the one proposed for Dallas. We home school our 4 children plus another one from our church and we are often finished with our school day by 2 PM, before the local schools are finished. Would my kids have to stay in the house until the publik skool kids are released for the day? And what if you attend a private school that may take a day off that the Guvmint schools don’t? Do these kids also have to stay hidden under their beds to avoid being arrested by the Educational Blackshirts?

  2. Daniel says:

    I heard that publik skool kids think they grew out of apes!

  3. S.E. says:

    It sounds like the city leaders subscribe to the DHS/TSA way of doing things – “we’ll give the illusion that this will help deter crime, and hope no one sees it for the sham it actually is”. I know this applies to many of the city’s decisions, so I’m only stating the obvious.

    In addition to the homeschooled and private school kids, how many college freshmen are going to be harassed, just because they look young? I had just turned 18 when I started college the week after I graduated, so I know I didn’t age that much in a week.

  4. Dallasite says:

    I don’t know that they’re doing this under the guise of deterring crime. Rather, it’s more to somehow, someway get the 50% DISD dropout rate under control. Yes, delinquent kids commit a lot more crime, are more likely to be active in gangs and the drug trade, and almost universally end up in jail while still in their teens, but keeping them in school tends to lower those problems dramatically.

    DISD also has a little known ankle bracelet program for truants, that to be honest, I can’t believe hasn’t led to an Al Sharpton march on City Hall.

    The city and county leaders are grasping at straws, knowing that if we don’t get this education problem under control we’re going to end up with a generations of misfits, criminals, and welfare recipients that will make the gory drive-by days of the 80′s seem mild.

  5. Rawlins Gilliland says:

    Here again, different districts, different takes on this ‘issue’. My first thought when I was told about this issue was where’s the beef. But I learned when I attended sessions at the Crime Watch meetings at the SE Dallas police division headquarters.

    Although crime has lessened considerably in Southeast Dallas, the issue is profound here, in no small part because of the huge # of immigrant households with large families. SE Dallas has many HUGE parks from Crawford to Gateway, etc and throughout the day, it is not rare to see groups of teens in the parks or the greenbelts that feed the forest. Among other things, this has lead to quick break and entry theft in cars, etc. In fact, mine last week whereas this never happened prior to the proliferation of truants. Too, I speak to teens that have had their first brush with the law, at the MLK Center on MLK south Dallas. And they confirm that truancy is their first step to problems. (Not to mention not getting an education, but that’s another post.)

    Most of the home burglary crime stats show they take place in the weekday daytime. And when you see the 12-15 yr. old kids that are supposed to be (for instance) in my neighborhood’s Hood Jr. High that day instead in the alley, you have a one plus one=two. The older at-home retired persons who spearhead the local crime watch groups inevitably recount this exact correlation. ‘Freedom’ never meant I was able to roam the streets when I was a young teen in Dallas during school hours. Now it’s a ‘don’t tread on me’ right?

    Bottom line is that unless you are a drop out or homeschooled, you have no ‘right’ to be roaming the streets as a 14 yr. old kid in school hours. Our local police leaders came and spoke to our Homeowner’s Ass. And the stats and issues they delivered were noteworthy. It would not be tough to have clearance as a homeschooled or other. The police are not looking to become Gestapo. But they seek more ‘teeth’ re: truants. Those who see this as a non-solution to a problem they do not see as relevant perhaps live in neighborhoods that are not the natural target of this proposed curfew.

  6. Daniel says:

    Hood Jr. High


  7. A. S. P. says:

    The real issue of why kids aren’t staying in school has yet to be addressed. What does DISD need to change in order to keep kids “from walking in the front door and then walking out the back door?”

    And if you look at the news today, the good DISD schools are going to be losing teachers so that will only cause more students to leave because they are BORED and NOT LEARNING.

    We need to hold DISD accountable. We should have a curfew on DISD Supt. Hinojosa and the school board so that they are not permitted to leave the admin building until they come up with a real solution to educating our children as opposed to destroying good schools for the almighty dollar.

    DISD fails to instill a sense of learning in our children and then when they leave the school there’s the city ready to pounce and lay a $500 fine on the families. Seems like easy money.

    Way to go DISD and “education” Mayor Leppert. The city will make up the shortfall in the city budget in no time.

  8. Dallasite says:


    DISD probably is a small reason why the dropout rate is so high. Cultural lack of educational priority is a much larger one. Poverty, gangs, and peer pressure can be overwhelming to a child. Most importantly, there is no one telling these kids that there’s something at the end of the road that makes staying in school worthwhile.

    It’s a cultural failing that nobody has the courage to address.

  9. I used to just skip school because it was fun… hitchhike down to Denton and hang out on Fry Street….little did I know that I was caught up in a cultural failing.

  10. Woodrow Parent says:

    @Phillip J. Hubbell
    I am sure Dallasite means hispanic cultural failing. I guess you were just caught up in failing.