Monday, June 16, 2008

Article regarding curfews in York

Here's a link to a few articles in which I am quoted. Although the reporter did a decent job of covering the issue, she included "research findings" reported by police departments in the same way she presented peer reviewed, controlled research.

The results she cited don't show how curfews work - they show how PROGRAMS work to involve teens in activities, and that reduces crime. It's not about the curfews. It's about getting the teens engaged and involved. You know, what the schools are supposed to be doing....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Larry Hicks on Curfews and Parenting

Well, Mr. Hicks discusses the all important aspect of parenting to control adolescent misdeeds. Of course parents should have a stronger presense in the lives of their children - this would alleviate many issues that plague our society.

However, parents are also repeatedly told that their parental authority is not absolute. In fact, schools attempt to usurp parental rights at every turn (remember the middle school in New England that wanted to provide 11 year old girls with birth control pills?).

When schools and other government institutions repeatedly take on the role of parents, it serves to repeatedly and doggedly undermine parental authority.

The result of this unfortunate situation is that newer generations of parents enter into parenting with unclear ideas of exactly where the boundaries are - what are they "allowed" to do, what are they "responsible" for, and what are "others responsible for?"

The more we, as a society, allow schools, police, and elected officials to take over the responsibilities of parents, the more parents will give it up.

This just leaves more of a mess. We need less school involvement and more encouragement for families to pull together. We need to revolt against the tendency to have institutions dictate the upbringing of our children.

Let's spend LESS money on education - the more we throw at schools, the more we support the inadequate status quo.

Let's shuttle the money towards organizations that teach and promote cohesion in families, parenting skills, support groups for parents to learn how to manage the inevitable stress associated with parenthood.

Imagine a world in which most children feel secure and see their parents getting support and encouragement. Imagine how much more confident and prepared these children would be!

There is no amount of formal schooling that can achieve this.

Drop the curfew. It's a smoke and mirrors attempt that will have exactly zero impact on decreasing crime and truancy.

Let's REALLY and FUNCTIONALLY support parents.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Curfew idea spreading throughout county

The county wide curfew push is spreading to neighboring communities. Business owners are justifiably upset, as it places much of the responsibility for policing the curfew on their heads.

Why should a business owner be forced by governmental agencies to turn away possible business?

And more discussion about the curfew in Manchester township, where reasonable people are genuinely concerned about the violation of constitutional rights that a curfew entails.

Letter to the Dispatch Editor

Appearing in the York Dispatch, in response to an op-ed written by Shawn Mauck, council president of West York Boro.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More media support for no day time curfew

Here is another link to the York Dispatch, arguing against another superfluous law on the books.

The author, Larry Hicks, makes some excellent points about the age restrictions during the day, and how hard it would be to adequately enforce it without needlessly detaining "legal" citizens out during the day time.

Let's see more of this! And how about some good ole fashioned investigative journalism - look into the inefficacy of curfew laws, and how, when challenged in courts, some have been found to be unconstitutional.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Editorial Support for Daytime Curfew Craziness

The York Dispatch, which by the way has been doing a superior job to the York Daily Record in following the curfew issue, published an editorial arguing against the daytime curfew.

The editorial takes to task Shaun Mauck, the WY councilmember who pushed through the daytime curfew issue. His actions run counter to the current push towards uniformity across the county in ordinances.

Here is the link:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Daytime Curfew - Dissolving Our Liberty

It gives me little pleasure to know that my hunch was correct - I think the city's decision to drop the daytime curfew was disingenuous.

Please refer to this evening's Dispatch article:

My belief is that by passively sitting by and NOT putting pressure on neighboring municipalities to remove the day time curfew issue entirely, they are coming in the back door with this legislation.

Why, if the county is moving towards uniformity (which is theproposed reason behind this current curfew push) would the county commissioners NOT get on the phone and say, "Hey, we're all trying to be on the same page here, why lead your community down a path that isdifferent from ours?"

Unless of course the county commissioners and others WANT the daytime curfew to be part of the uniformity across the county. That's pretty much what's happened with the night time curfew - peer pressure for those communities who don't have curfews to establish ones, or for those who have more restricted hours (like the Manchester Tshp hoursof midnight to 5 AM) to have continuity across the county.

I guess it's bound to happen with day time. We have a few communities around the city with daytime curfews, maybe more down the road. What's the harm in just making it law EVERYWHERE? It would be common sense, would it not? That's the same mentality that is going on with the night time curfew right now.

Curfews are smoke and mirrors. If schools do not know where their students are, they have a bigger problem than truancy.

Why aren't parents suing schools for not keeping tabs on theircharges???

Can you imagine a day care not paying attention to their four yearolds? "We didn't realize she wasn't in class today...."

What is going on here??? Why are we allowing this to take place?

The schools are a mess, and we are all paying the price. They are fostering a sense of utter complacency in the citizens of this country.

So we all lose a bit of liberty each day. As long as so few pay attention, perhaps it doesn't actually matter....Anita

Monday, March 3, 2008

Time for a change?

Let's take a possible example of what could happen if we let things get out of control (which I guess they already are, but that's I suppose for the schools to figure out):

A teenager is outside during school hours. An officer approaches, asks the teen why they aren't in school.
Teen could reply, "I'm homeschooled." Then what happens?

Is the officer legally able to ask for the teen's name? What if the teen gives a false name and address? Is that really illegal for the teen to do that?

If the teen is legally outside (ie if s/he is legitmately homeschooled) and decides to be a nudge by giving false information to an officer, what is the consequence, if any?

If the teen did nothing wrong, there would be no legimate reason for the officer to have that teen's name and address. Is providing false ID info to an officer with no reason to ask for it illegal?

Now, what if the teen is lying and really SHOULD be in school? The teen gives false information to the officer - then what happens?
Teens don't have homeschooling or private school "papers" they carry with them. No way for a questioning officer to know if the teen is telling the truth or not.

So officers can question youths now - big deal. They shouldn't HAVE to question anyone, because the SCHOOLS should know who is and isn't sitting in their seats. Those who are truant can theoretically be identified and approached.

There really is no need for officers to question youth if the schools are doing their jobs. ANd if the schools AREN'T doing their job, where is the accountability?
When are communities going to stand up and demand accountability of their schools and their citizens (teens included)?

More importantly, when are communities going to rise up and admit - the SCHOOLS DON'T WORK FOR EVERYONE, particularly for teens. Some teens don't belong in school at all. It is not "for them." Why is that wrong or illegal?
It's not as if they have nothing to offer, or that they can't contribute to society. It's just that schools can't meet their needs to express their gifts and talents.

What do you think happens when we force ALL young people to do something that serves them absolutely NO purpose? We hem them in by instituting an environment in which they simply cannot win, nor succeed, nor really learn. We tell them they MUST be in the prison like atmosphere of schools. If they leave the stifling environment, they CAN'T get a job or be productive because THAT IS ILLEGAL!

The problem is not the teens, and not even really the parents. Maybe the parents are frustrated because they don't really think school is the best option for their 15, 16 and 17 year olds. Maybe these parents are right, but they are also constrained by the same rules we've put in place for the teens.

What a mess.

What normal human being wouldn't act out?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Curfew meeting

See the following article for information regarding "curfew enforcement."

Hopefully the daytime curfew issue will be put to rest by this date, but in case it is not, plan to attend.

And even if the daytime issue is removed, we should plan to attend because obviously our community needs more involvement. In order to avoid propositions that remove freedoms in the future, I wonder how we could each make a positive impact on crime and juvenile delinquency.

I do know that when individuals and groups put their minds to something, they can make it happen. There is evidence all around us showing it's true. Now might be the time to really focus on ways to improve the quality of life throughout the city and county.

Other web discussion links

There is some discussion regarding the curfew issue at this site:

There are a few different threads of comments - see the index on the right hand side of the page.

Friday, February 29, 2008


This is a link to an interesting study finding no support for the use of curfews to deter or prevent crime.

However, this study is not "solid" as some of it's statistics involve correlations and not regression analyses. As those familiar with statistics should know, correlation does not prove causation.

But the information and findings are still relevent if consumed with some caveats.

More rigorous abstract, although I have not read the entire study:

Another decent looking study..

Links for your consideration

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Short update for clarification

Just to clarify, as I've gotten some questionrs regarding the status of this proposal...

This must have been under discussion for some time, as the task force has put together the proposal already.

Then, they sent out the proposal to all the municipalities in the county. As I understand it, all the municipalities must agree to this, because it is being presented as a county-wide curfew.

Perhaps our biggest area of impact could be contacting each of our individual municipalities directly and stating our objections. If we can make our community leaders understand our opposition, we should theoretically be able to stop this.

I am very concerned as well about the lack of adequate and accurate media coverage. Why would the papers ignore an important aspect of this proposal that would actually be a NEW law? Might they have an agenda?

I have written a letter to the YDR editor. I hope it is published in the next few days - I will link to it when it is online.

"Just charge them with something"

I've been thinking quite a bit about curfews this week, in addition to the research I've done to see what others have come up with regarding the efficacy of restricting movement around a community.

Why, when curfews clearly make no impact on arrests, overall crime, and truancy, do so many communities have them? From the data I have come across, over 200 communities across the nation have some sort of curfew laws.

Some comments in the press run along the lines of "No good can come of teenagers out in the streets at 1 AM." I would argue with that and can immediately think of the teenagers whose mission it is to serve the homeless in the cities around the country by handing out blankets and food. Sometimes this is done at night, when it is most needed.

But even if I agree that teens should be in their houses after a certain time, how does this decrease crime?

A person cannot be arrested unless they commit a crime (in America). A crime is determined by a set of laws that tell the citizens, "This is a crime, we as a community believe it is heinous/dangerous enough to deserve punishment."

Clearly, life threatening behaviors are going on in York City. Those responsible should be found, prosecuted, and punished.

When it becomes challenging to arrest the ones commiting crimes, I think the decision makers have the belief that if we lower the bar regarding what is considered criminal/illegal behavior, we can then arrest/prosecute people for a lesser crime. I suppose the hope is that scaring them with the legal process for a lesser crime will prevent them from commiting a more serious crime later on.

At least I THINK that must be the logic. I can't imagine what other rationale there would be.

Are curfews a variation on "If we bring them in, maybe we can find a charge so SOMETHING will stick?"

If groups are restricted more and more, then eventually more violations will happen. Then what? Too many restrictions diminishes the potency of law. If we are constantly told "No, no, no," people get frustrated and then complacent. If a truant is already a truant, what would they care about a curfew fine?

If freedom is to be limited, we NEED to see data showing that, in this case, fines for curfew violations have a specific and favorable impact on crime.

Which brings me to another point of contention - I fail to see exactly what goal the task force is attempting to reach. When implementing a plan, it is best to have the end in mind, a specific goal towards which to work. For instance, "We hope to see arrests decrease by X% as a result of instituting daytime curfews because that has been shown in the past."

Nowhere in the proposal is there any language regarding the specific indices the task force hopes to impact.

On truancy.....

If a teen is truant, that is all we need to know. The truants are theoretically easily identified.

If the schools fail to track their truants, allowing them to wander the streets, then the schools need to be held accountable.

My children's right to move about freely during the day should never be challenged or questioned.

If the schools fail to cope with truancy, the citizens of York who feel threatened by a group of teens on the streets can call the police, or they can call the school directly. Or they can call Child Protective Services and report suspected child neglect.

Truancy is a multi-faceted problem, requiring a multi-pronged approach to reduce. None of the published research data that I have found shows that curfews work.

There are researched-based programs that DO work. They strive to increase engagement with schools, increase familial support, and work to improve the belief in teens that they do have a bright and meaningful future ahead of them.

Let's help them get there by doing what we know works. Who will pay for this? We all already are.

We can increase apprentice programs in the community by incentivizing businesses who agree to take on teens for training and education in a trade. Allow these businesses to pay teenage apprentices below minimum wage.

If we can increase teens' engagement with the businesses in their neighborhoods, they will feel more obligated to the functioning of the city.

YDR editorial opinion re: curfew

Notice the lack of mention about the proposed DAYTIME curfew. Why ignore it in the editorial? The wording of this editorial makes it seem "reasonable" to support this, yet the editorial ignores mention of NEW ordinances, not just standardizing existing ones...


No Need for Day Time Curfew

This blog is for the specific purpose of maintaining a dialogue regarding proposed legislation in York, PA.

The most current issue to discuss involves instituting a day time curfew for school aged children in York County. The intent of the proposed curfew is to reduce truancy and juvenile delinquency.

I am strongly opposed to this proposed ordinance. Mechanisms and procedures are already in place to address truancy issues. Adding a new catagory of illegality to our community will NOT reduce truancy.

Peer-reviewed research demonstrates the inefficacy of curfew programs when considering outcomes of arrests and calls for service (i.e. 911 calls). These studies looked at evening curfews - it might be easy to extrapolate this result to day time curfews, although the researcher in me knows full well I shouldn't do that.

Please limit comments to civil conversation.

Anita Marchesani