Hopefully they'll be able to stop this curfew business. The Belleville City Council is considering beefing up their truancy ordinance by imposing a daytime curfew. They met last night and with an over-capacity crowd of assembled parents, the council chose to re-consider the curfew vote until July 5th:
Under the current proposal, those who break curfew could be fined $250 the first time and $500 for subsequent offenses, though an officer could opt to issue warnings or just drop the child off at home or school. The daytime curfew also could hold business owners to the some of the same standards as parents; if they knowingly — emphasis on knowingly, Clay says — allow truant minors to hang out at their businesses during school hours, they could be fined, too. The daytime curfew wouldn't apply for most children during the summer, and it also wouldn't apply for those who've been expelled from school or dropped out.
That's a pretty steep fine for skipping school. There's some unsettling language in there that police "could opt to drop the child off at home or school". It makes sense that a truant child would be dropped back off at the school. It doesn't make sense that a child would be dropped off at home. Unless they were homeschoolers. Which would lead to the assumption that homeschoolers could take a ride in the back of the police car to their home for assurances that they are exempt.
So where is that exemption? It seems to have been lost on the way back home in the police car.
The expectation should be that St. Clair County Regional Office of Education is taking care of the truancy issue with truant officers. Surely Belleville administration can put pressure on the school network to do that. Unless it's the dropouts (17 years and older) and expelled students who are causing such a need for a daytime curfew. But this ordinance doesn't apply to them.
[Police Chief] Clay has said officers wouldn't be targeting teens as they patrol; the daytime curfew would just be a tool in the enforcement toolbox that can be used when problems, such as recent fights involving large groups of minors, come up. He said the department has only written 12 truancy citations since 2006.
It seems like a new daytime curfew for teens would cause officers to be targeting them. But with a reported Belleville High School 3.6% chronic truancy rate in 2010 and only 12 written citations in the last five years, this curfew seems unnecessary at best. Good for Belleville and other area families being aware and following up with their concerns.
A June 19th article regarding the daytime curfew issue: Do You Know Where Your Kids Are? Beefed-up curfew would crack down on unruly teens, irresponsible parents - Belleville News Democrat
As always, check out the Illinois Homeschool PAC FB page for comments and concerns.