The “directed enforcement” juvenile curfew program that began in May in Lubbock, Texas looked like it was a sure thing. However, the governor of Texas ended up signing a bill in order to put a stop to this. In fact, House Bill 1819 will begin on September 1st and this will keep cities and counties in Texas from enforcing curfews that will “regulate movements or actions of people who are younger than 18 years old. Emergency management curfews are allowed according to another section of Texas law.
How juvenile curfews are used in Texas
In the past, there have been some cities in Texas that have juvenile curfew ordinances that include Allen, Dallas, and San Antonio. Houston had a daytime curfew until 2019 and Fort Worth had an ordinance that expired at the beginning of 2023.
Tray Payne, the mayor of Lubbock, says that there is some effectiveness when it comes to enforcing these curfews. He states that this can be a deterrent to crime. The mayor is a former prosecutor and says that the state can override cities and counties that are attempting to ban juvenile curfews.
Pushback against juvenile curfew ordinances
Tim Lambert, who is the president of the Texas Home School Coalition, believes that parents should decide when children can be outside. Many homeschoolers, the NAACP, and left-leaning groups support this legislation. There have been some problems with homeschool students getting picked up during the day since they weren’t at a school.
The Texas Appleseed group praises House Bill 1819 because it protects vulnerable young people in public spaces due to being homeless or fleeing from abusive situations.
Lambert says that children only should be stopped by law enforcement officers if there’s probable cause to do so. They shouldn’t just be stopped because of their ages. This is the same for both daytime and nighttime juvenile curfews.
Juvenile crimes are a serious matter, but enforcing curfews across the board isn’t necessarily the right way to approach the issue. People under 18 years old who are being accused of or charged with a crime need fair representation and investigation to protect their rights.