South Lakes Sentinel

Cutting the Clock: Youth Curfew

Photo+courtesy+of+Ben+Zalles
Photo courtesy of Ben Zalles

Photo courtesy of Ben Zalles

Photo courtesy of Ben Zalles

Ben Zalles, staff photographer and writer

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Over the years, the topic of youth curfew laws have sparked widespread debate regarding both its effectiveness in the community, and whether or not it is constitutional. Youth curfew laws are typically defined as ordinances that prohibit people under 18 from being in public or business owned areas from between 11pm and 6am. Although they were originally imposed to help prevent juvenile crime, youth curfew laws have been opposed in the last 20 years due to claims of infringement on individual rights and a growing skepticism of their effectiveness.According to former president Benjamin Harris, youth curfew was originally described as “the most important municipal regulation for the protection of children in American homes from the vices of the streets.” In society today, however, it is often viewed as a solution to larger social issues such as the ability parents to control their children, juvenile rights, and racial profiling.

Today, youth curfews exist in over 400 cities, towns, and states, as it is believed to be effective in reducing juvenile crime. It is a policy that has corporations such as the ACLU stating that youth curfew “violates freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and right to travel in individuals.” On the other end of the spectrum, courts in Dallas, Texas argue that youth curfew provides enough exceptions, such as traveling at night with parent supervision. Both sides produce compelling arguments, but have trouble with compromise when it comes down to which issues should be prioritized.

Youth curfew is both a complicated and controversial issue. Action is required from the American people and government from both sides of the argument in order to discuss each other’s needs and create a solution that meets halfway. A new ordinance must be created in order to effectively keep American youth safe while allowing them freedom of choice.

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About the Writer
Ben Zalles, Staff Photographer and Writer

Ben is a sophomore at South Lakes High School, and this is his second year on the staff of the South Lakes Sentinel. He enjoys boxing, photography, dogs, and rock music. 

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Cutting the Clock: Youth Curfew