THSC is dedicated to defending homeschoolers across Texas, especially students who are subject to the juvenile curfew ordinance in various cities.
Could you imagine being fined or even arrested just for being out in public during a weekday?
Could you imagine having to enter the juvenile justice system just because you were heading home from work at 11:30 p.m. and got stopped by a police officer?
Could you imagine the state penalizing you just for being homeschooled and not being in public school during school hours?
This is exactly what some youth have faced in cities all over Texas. And, we believe it is unfair to homeschoolers, so THSC did something about it.
Recently, THSC influenced the city of Austin’s decision to completely discontinue their juvenile curfew ordinance. Here is how we worked to protect the rights of homeschoolers.
History of the Austin Juvenile Curfew Ordinance
In the 1990s, the Austin City Council passed a juvenile curfew ordinance in a response to rising levels of juvenile crime in the City of Austin.
However, over time, organizations have observed declining rates of juvenile crime even in cities that never had juvenile curfew ordinances, and some cities started overturning them.
THSC Testifies Against Juvenile Daytime Curfew in Austin
THSC is no stranger to speaking out against juvenile curfew ordinances in cities all over Texas. THSC has worked multiple times with Anne Gebhart and her organization Heart of Texas to help overturn juvenile curfew ordinances in Texas. Due to this, THSC was quick to respond when we heard that Austin had scheduled a review of the ordinance.
The Austin juvenile curfew ordinance came up before the Austin City Council because it was due for a sunset review before the ordinance expired or was renewed. THSC reached out to other organizations that had an interest in overturning the ordinance and prepared to speak against the renewal of the ordinance.
On June 15, 2017, THSC attended the city council meeting and recommended that the Austin City Council allow the ordinance to expire instead of renewing it. THSC described our experience working on juvenile curfew ordinances in other cities around the state and explained our opposition from the perspectives of homeschoolers and parental rights.
After listening to THSC’s and other organizations’ testimony against the renewal of the ordinance, the Austin City Council voted to allow the daytime portion of the juvenile curfew to expire.
The city council also voted to establish a workgroup to do more research on juvenile curfews and talk to Austin youth and the community to get their opinions.
The next hearing was scheduled for September when the city council heard the workgroup’s report on their findings, then voted on whether to extend the nighttime portion of the juvenile curfew, which had been extended through the end of the summer.
Entire Juvenile Curfew Expires in Austin
During the summer, the workgroup that the Austin City Council commissioned, which also included THSC, met weekly to discuss alternatives to help the youth of Austin instead of the juvenile curfew. These meetings consisted of discussing the issue with members of the community, Austin youth and the Austin Police Department.
THSC attended the meeting when the city council reconvened to revisit the subject. On Thursday, September 28, 2017, the Austin City Council allowed the entire juvenile curfew to fully expire.