The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

April 22, 2007

Council to again consider juvenile curfew

By BRAD KELLAR

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council is scheduled again Tuesday to vote on whether to renew the city’s juvenile curfew ordinance.

The current ordinance, which has been in place for the past dozen years, contains no language specifying whether home-schooled children are exempt from the daytime portion of the curfew, a fact which had caught one Council member’s attention.

A vote on the ordinance was postponed from the April 10 Council meeting and is again on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular session, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A work session is also set for 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Assistant City Attorney Brent Money said the ordinance before the Council this week is the same one which was presented for consideration two weeks ago.

“After looking at it, I don’t think we’re ready to change the ordinance,” Money said.

Since 1995, juveniles in Greenville have been forbidden from being on local streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, between 12 and 6 a.m. weekends and between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. school days.

The Council is required to review and renew the ordinance every three years. The curfew is up for consideration for the first time since 2004.

Council member Chris Bracken asked at the April 10 session whether the ordinance exempted home schooled children from the daytime curfew. Bracken said he had been contacted by representatives of home schools in Greenville, along with the Texas Home School Coalition, who believed the daytime curfew was unfair to their students, who generally were under no regulations to remain at their residences during what are typically school hours.

Bracken also noted how under state law, municipalities are forbidden from regulating home school operations.

Police Chief Harold Roseberry said a similar situation developed in Paris and explained that under the ordinance any student of any school may be allowed in public during the daytime curfew, as long as they had permission from an authorized school official. In the case of a home school, Roseberry said, a parent would qualify.

Bracken insisted the regulation should not apply to home-schooled children.

Mayor Tom Oliver suggested the Council table the issue until such time as City Attorney Robert Scott had time to review the matter.

Money said that while City Attorney’s office has not recommended the ordinance be altered, that doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked.

“Some changes may be made to the ordinance by amendment during the Council meeting,” Money said. “It is not going to require an overhaul.”