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Curfew Laws For Teenagers: Does It Do More Harm Than Good?

2198 words - 9 pages

On September 22, 2013 16-year old Shaina Harris was given permission by her mother, Linda Richardson, to go to Burger King. The time of her stroll to Burger King was past 10 p.m., which violates her town’s curfew. Shaina was issued a summons because of her violation and was taken to court. Such an innocent behavior like going to get a milkshake with your mother’s permission should not be frowned upon. Nor should it bring a punishment like the one Shaina received. Her mother, Ms. Richardson claimed, “It’s my right as a parent to tell my child when to be home—not the government’s.” (Cowen, 2013). Ms. Richardson does indeed have the right as the mother of her child to reprimand her daughter and ...view middle of the document...

A teen who was once looked up to can now become a teen who is one to look down upon. Curfew laws can initiate an unwanted spiral effect on a teenager’s life. Ultimately, this spiral effect is something teenagers do not need at such an important time of their lives.
Such a foolish offense of violating curfew should not be holding back a teenager. Innocent teens deserve better and punishment for their innocent activity is idiotic. Countless articles and newspapers state that all curfews do are “criminalize the innocent activity” of the town’s teenagers. “These packs of teenagers are mostly not breaking any law...And what curfews do, according to an Appellate Division ruling invalidating West New York's curfew in 2004, is "criminalize the innocent activities" of teenagers.” (McClatchy, 2013). As stated above, curfews do not have a positive effect. It does not impact the community on the ways it should. Instead, they put teenagers in redundant situations that take away their responsibility as a young adult.
Responsibility is a vital trait that young adults in this generation need to be familiar with. Curfew laws do not allow teenagers to develop a source of responsibility when they are still being “babied” by the government. Teenagers need to make decisions of their own, so that they can learn from them and make the right decision the next time. Learning from their mistakes can help a young teen discover the consequences that come with making bad decisions—like staying out late. Thus, he or she shall take the responsibility next time when making the decision to go home. Curfew laws are not needed when a teenager takes responsibility and realizes the causes of their actions. Teenagers under the age of 18 and living in this country with citizenship should be treated as a citizen. No responsibilities, such as this one, should be taken away from them.
In a like manner, not only do curfews take away responsibility, but the rights of a minor. "I don't think [curfews] have any place in a free society. To think that somebody could be arrested for walking down the street doing nothing wrong just because of their birth date is obscene." (Schukat, 2006). In a free society minors and adults have the right as a citizen of this country to go outside when they please. The Supreme Court expresses in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth,” the fundamental importance of a citizen’s right to move about at will, stating that such activities as “night walking,” “loafing,” and “strolling,” while “not mentioned in the constitution or the Bill of Rights are historically part of the amenities of life as we have known them.” Historically life’s amenities withhold the ability to leave home no matter the time and no matter your age. Curfew laws take away some of life’s amenities when they refrain the public from engaging in innocent activity.
This law comes very close to violating American’s personal freedom. Injustice is the best way to describe such a law like this one. It...

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