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CURFEWS FOR KIDS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Posted by on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:23 AM
  • 216 Replies

Go home kids: Baltimore launches strict evening curfew for youth


By Edith Honan

BALTIMORE - As dusk crept over Collington Square Park, in east Baltimore, the children's chatter of questions began.

"What time is my curfew?" "What if I'm out with my brother and he's 18?" "If I hide, can I still stay out and play?"

A 23-year-old man with thin, cascading braids who goes by the name Dreads interrupted the chorus of voices: "It's 8:05! You all have 55 minutes left!"

A new youth curfew law, among the strictest in the nation, took effect in Baltimore on Friday night. It requires unaccompanied children under the age of 14 to be indoors by 9 p.m. and for 14, 15 and 16-year-olds to be indoors by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends and during the summer.

Children found out on the streets can be picked up by police and escorted to one of two recreational centers set up by the city until parents or guardians pick them up.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakes says the rules will help keep kids out of harm's way in a city that has long struggled with high crime. But civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, say the rules are too vague and make negative interactions between police and children all but inevitable.

"I think there is a widely acknowledged lack of trust between members of the public and the police department in Baltimore. Discussion of this falls against that backdrop," said Sonia Kumar, an ACLU staff attorney.

She said she was also concerned about how police would react if they stop a child who is not carrying a photo identification, or if the child attempts to run away.

Other critics noted that the rec halls that were serving as collection centers for the kids by night were closed for activities and events during the day.

Baltimore, which served as the staging ground for the celebrated HBO police drama "The Wire," has one of the highest rates of violent crime of any U.S. city, with 218 homicides reported in 2012, according to FBI data.

But there are signs that crime in this city of some 625,000 is starting to ebb. The number of murders this year is down 14 percent compared to the same period last year.


While the curfew attracted strong opposition at a public forum last week, many parents approached on Friday night said they thought it was a good idea.

"A lot goes on at night that they don't need to be involved with," said Alyssa Jackson, 20, as she tended to her 9-month-old daughter Madison on one knee. Jackson said her mother had set a similar curfew for her as a child, and she planned to do the same for her own daughter.

Jackson's friend, Emmanuel Lawson, a fellow Baltimore native, nodded his head in agreement. "Honestly, it just eliminates the possibility of people acting a fool," he said of the curfew.

But Kim Johnson, a single mother of five boys who works a night shift doing custodial work, wasn't so sure.

"What if the baby gets sick in the middle of the night and my 16-year-old needs to go to the store to get something?" said Jackson, 34, as she pushed her child on a swing shortly before the curfew took effect.

She said she was especially worried about the city's threat of fining parents up to $500 if children are found unattended.

For hours after the curfew went into effect, the two recreation centers set up by the city were mostly quiet.

At one point, a woman arrived at the center on the city's west side saying she had come to collect her 11-year-old grandson.

"I think it's good," she said of the curfew. "The kids shouldn't be out on the streets when it gets dark."

(Writing by Edith Honan; Editing by Frances Kerry)


by on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:23 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:31 AM
15 moms liked this

 It's sad that it's necessary, but too many parents don't do much to make sure their kids are home where they belong at night. I do think it probably needs to be cleared up, and address a few things, such as a parent sending an older teen to the store or something, just so people know exactly what's ok and what isn't. The curfew itself doesn't seem like a bad idea, because other than work, or a parent sending an older kid to do something, I can't think of a legitimate reason a kid needs to be out that late without adult supervision.

by Anonymous 1 on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:33 AM
1 mom liked this

Hmm. I'm not too sure. 

On the one hand this is strict control, but parents should be doing a better job. 

I don't like it. It's over stepping. It just diesnt feel right

by Platinum Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:34 AM
3 moms liked this

I think it's sad that the city has to put this in place.  I would assume there is a problem with younger teens out late.  If parents were being parents the city wouldn't have to place laws like this.  

by Anonymous 2 on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:35 AM
Sounds like the curfew that was in place when I was a teen in MN. A friend and I got stopped once while walking home from the gas station 5 mins before curfew. We were 14 and got grilled about why our eyes were so red lol we had never even smoked a cigarette!

*this was 15 years ago so it's nothing new
by Anonymous 3 on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:39 AM
1 mom liked this

The small town I grew up in always had a curfew.  I don't see the big deal. 

by on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:42 AM
I wouldn't force my kids to follow it.

I'm their parent, they listen to me. I don't care what the law says, it's ridiculous IMO.

by Gold Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:45 AM
5 moms liked this
Our town has a curfew, and I think it's fine. It's 11pm for anyone under 18. What do kids have any business doing out later than that? Nothing but trouble.
by Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:56 AM
4 moms liked this

Considering the high rate of crime of Baltimore it's a great idea to try to curb it since some people don't care who they hurt or kill. Why would you allow your child to run the streets after 10pm?!? That leads to a lot of no good and danger. 

by Grammar Enthusiast on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:59 AM
I don't see the problem.

We didn't have a city wide curfew, but there were lots of places that closed to teenagers after a certain time, especially in the summer.
by Baby T-rex Arms on Aug. 11, 2014 at 7:03 AM
2 moms liked this

I don't have a problem with that. Most parents shouldn't.

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