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Home » Newspaper News

Students of South Carolina show indifference to the teenage curfew laws

April 30, 2014
James F Byrnes Freshman Academy

Curfew laws for teenagers in specified cities or towns have been put into place to lower crime rate..

“Sometimes curfews are effective because if your child is a bad kid then they need restrictions and guidelines to keep them out of legal troubles,” said Kinsley Burke, student at Byrnes Freshman Academy (BFA).

South Carolina has curfew restrictions for their own minors. Monday through Friday, teens must not be on the streets from 12:01am to 5am  However, on Saturday and Sunday teens are allowed to stay out till 1am before they are considered to be violating curfew.

Westgate Mall in Spartanburg has their own curfew restrictions on community youth as well. No one younger than 18 is allowed in the mall after 6 pm on Fridays and Saturdays without a parent or guardian. Security guards are posted at mall entrances, and teens under 18 are asked to leave the property or are taken to another room to wait on a parent or guardian pick-up.

Assistant professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University, Chris Melde, said, “Some studies find a decrease in youth crime after curfew laws are implemented, but there are an equal number of studies that prove crimes increase.”

Bill Clinton said in 1996 that youth curfews “help keep our children out of harm’s way. They give parents a tool to impart, discipline, respect, and rules at an awkward and difficult time in children’s lives.”

Although some members of the community find the curfew laws effective in the decrease of crime rate among youth, others disagree.

“I do not think it’s fair for the government to enforce these laws because kids need to be free to do what they want, and it should be up to the parents to decide how responsible and mature their child is,” Burke suggested.

“I think the law would be more fair if the age restriction was changed to fifteen because that’s when you start getting all of your driving qualifications. So of course you would be out past 10.”

A survey by Ruelfe and Reynolds found that 146 out of 200 American cities with a population above 100,000 had curfew laws on the books, with 110 having enacted or revised their ordinances between 1990 and 1995.

Grace Llewellyn wrote in her book, The Teenage Liberation Handbook, “Regardless of what the law or your teachers have to say about this, you are as human as anyone over the age of 18 or 21, yet, ‘minors’ are one of the most oppressed groups of people in the world, and certainly the most discriminated against legally.”

To assist those opposing the restriction, National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) is a resource with plenty of  information on what can be done to fight curfews in an area. Printing out stickers, starting an NYRA chapter, holding protests, and of course notifying the media are all methods suggested by the organization. 

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