Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Daytime Curfew? In Buffalo?


I found out this from my Council person:

  Thank you for expressing your concerns, I agree there are a number of issues that would need to be worked out for this to go forward. The daytime curfew ordinance is still in discussion phase and there will be a public meeting next Monday, March 9 from 6pm-8pm at the Edward Saunders Community Center at 2777 Bailey Avenue to discuss the ordinance. I encourage you to attend to express your concerns and hear from other residents.

This morning there I came across the news story:

Officials discuss merits of daytime curfew

I am very troubled by this.  First of all, I have immediate concerns that when I am out and about with my kids, 7 and 8, that I will be required to produce my IHIP compliance letters showing that it is OK that they are not in school because they are homeschooled.  This reminds me of headlines out of Arizona some time ago that people could be stopped and asked to produce proof of citizenship. I am sure if I lived there, I would always be in some kind of trouble since I routinely walk out of the house with only house keys and a bus pass. Ironically, in Arizona, their homeschool laws are among the most free of all the states.  Regardless, I can't help but think that Buffalo should not consider any measures that would remind someone of the proof of citizenship sorts of requirements in Arizona.  It isn't who we are.  A daytime curfew is a terrible idea.  There may be an exception for kids who are with parents (possibly assuming they are on the way to a doctor's appointment or something), but what about homeschooled teenagers who are out in the world learning rather than being cooped up in school?  Will they be harassed by the police on their way to a class at a museum or work at a family business?  I talk to a great many interesting and seemingly responsible teenagers on the bus all the time going to activities or their parents' work.

The other thing that is troubling is the message we are giving to students.  At every turn our society tells teenagers they are not to be trusted.  Perhaps that is why some mistrust adults and don't feel like they need to go to school if enrolled in school (obviously being homeschooled is better in my view).  They know that they are being told what to do and what to think rather than beginning to take on real responsibility.  There are already night curfews.  It isn't great to be out after dark for anyone, but there is a special ordinance for teenagers essentially criminalizing them for more items than corresponding adults.  Once they reach adulthood we tell them they are still can't be trusted to have beer until they are 21.  Then we wonder why our teenagers are a problem.  I can't help but think we are scapegoating them for the problems in society knowing that we can only restrict adult behavior so much.  Sometimes, it even seems that the restrictions have replaced those formerly placed on minorities before civil rights and other measures.  Perhaps we allow the questioning of teenagers during certain hours to indirectly permit the questioning of minority individuals in the process.  African Americans age so well, I am not sure I can tell the difference at times between a 16 year old black teenage or a 19 year old black man.  Won't the police approach the 19 year old too?  Don't forget that most of the city is minority.  I hope people will see the curfew for what it may become.

Am I the only one troubled by this?

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