The Southerner

Curfew law for teens and kids is unconsititutional

Haley Deparde, Staff writer

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The United States Constitution is like a good friend. It’s always there for you and defends you. You would do anything to protect this friend. You may not have realized, but your best friend forever is being cheated on by something we like to call state curfew.

Hennepin County’s ordinance #16 prohibits any juvenile between the ages of 15 and 17 to be present in an local place between 11:00 p.m to 5:00 a.m on weekdays and 12:01 a.m to 5:00 a.m on weekends. Is the government going against itself by making these laws?

In 1787 the founding fathers agreed to a code that would be the basis of governing our country. This is The Constitution of the United States and it is here to protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. By implementing this curfew, the government is defying the Constitution.

Amendment 14 of the Constitution states that, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The aspect of this that we are focusing on here is “equal protection of the laws.” This applies to all citizens, whether they are under the age of 18 or not. By setting up a legal curfew, the government is taking away equal rights. Our country has fought battle after battle for equal rights and the curfew laws are denying youth equality.

I can understand how curfews may have some benefits, but having equal rights is more important than keeping youth from strolling about in the wee hours of the morning. By so strictly following the Constitution, the government seems to get it’s self into a pickle quite often, hence the creation of Amendments. If it’s causing so much trouble, should we keep the constitution?

Yes, the constitution is an important part of the way our government runs and it should stay in place. Even though it was created in a very different time then the present, it upholds the United States. However, the implementing of Amendments should be more accepted to keep up with modern issues that the founding fathers didn’t have on their minds in the 1700’s.

Citymayors.com quotes President Benjamin Harrison as saying curfews are, “the most important municipal regulation for the protection of children in American homes from the vices of the street,” four years after the first youth curfew was adopted in 1880 by Omaha, Nebraska. I understand that Harrison has the best intentions for keeping America’s young people out of harms way, however I believe it is not the most important government regulation for youth.

The streets can be a dangerous place at night in some regions. I wouldn’t want to be walking around downtown Minneapolis at one in the morning, but there are bigger issues in my life than that. I would prefer that the government focus their energy on making sure I have a good education instead of worrying about my wandering the streets. If one was well educated, they would know how to keep safe.

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Curfew law for teens and kids is unconsititutional