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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Chief urges parents to help enforce curfew laws

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Larry Pierce
With warmer weather comes the opportunity for more outdoor activities for all ages. However, parents still need to keep track of their underage children.

"Parents need to know where their kids are going, what they will be doing and who they are with," Police Chief Larry Pierce recently told The Brazil Times. "If we find their children out past curfew, we will enforce the curfew laws."

According to Pierce, officers could detain a child until the parents, guardians or a responsible family member can be found to take them home.

"Each case is handled on an individual basis," Pierce said. "Officers want to ensure the safety of our youngest residents. But, if there starts to be a pattern of bad behavior by the child or potential neglect by the parents, there is the possibility of court proceedings."

According to officials, there have been reports of parents using local events and businesses as "babysitters," leaving children at the establishments unattended and sometimes not coming back to get them.

"That's not a good situation for children to find themselves in," Pierce said about the incidents that could be potentially investigated for neglect.

However, Pierce said some parents are surprised to discover their child, who was supposed to be spending the night with a friend, was not where they should be when located by officers.

"It's nothing new. Kids have been doing things like that for years, but it's a new era and parents should take the time to verify the details and whereabouts of their children with other adults," Pierce said. "It's not a safe world out there."

Although embroiled in legal battles for years, the Indiana General Assembly continues to uphold and revise the curfew laws periodically to make sure they remain constitutional.

The law establishes times when juveniles are not allowed in public places, but leaves it up to the local law enforcement agencies of city governments, municipalities and towns to enforce the curfew.

Indiana Code 31-37-3-2 states that a law enforcement officer can write a citation and/or place a minor child in custody without a legal guardian present who is:

* Age 15 or younger in a public place between 11 p.m.-5 a.m. on any day of the week,

* Age 16 or 17 in a public place between 1-5 a.m., Saturday or Sunday mornings,

* Age 16 or 17 in a public place after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and

* Age 16 or 17 in a public place before 5 a.m., Monday through Friday.

The code allows for a minor to be out past the designated curfew if participating in, going to or returning from gainful employment, attending a school- or parental-sanctioned event, a religious, government or non-profit event, involved in an emergency situation or has been legally emancipated.

The curfew times aren't optional and juveniles should be home at or before curfew starts, not on the way home or out partying.

Pierce said there are problems with teenagers using empty houses for party spots and if a resident notices unusual activity at a vacant home, they need to contact authorities.

"This is a matter of safety for our children, because it's unknown what is going on inside in a situation like that and it could be anything, but at the minimum they are trespassing. Trespassing is also an issue when teenagers hang out at parking lots owned by local businesses."

Officials urge residents to contact the police when they see a large group of juveniles out past curfew.

"Any strange activity like that should be checked out," Pierce said.

Juveniles cited for a curfew violation will cost their parents $100 per the terms of the city ordinance. Punishment for curfew violation could also mean an appearance in juvenile court for allegations of delinquency against the child.

Punishment for violation of the state curfew law is more extensive.

Officials said juveniles cited in violation of the state curfew law are referred to Juvenile Probation and Clay Circuit Court for what is called an "informal adjustment." Juveniles may be placed on an informal type of probation for three months, ordered to serve 8-16 hours of community service and ordered to pay administrative costs of approximately $45 dollars.

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It needs to be enforced.

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 11:35 PM

In some cases like this, it's a question of "Where were the parents?", not because the children were out of their sights. It's because the parents cannot be found. Often times they are either not home or do not answer their phones.

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 6:57 AM

Personally, I think the kids who break curfew laws should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Not ALL parents should be labeled as "neglecting" their children because their kids aren't where they are supposed to be (or say they are, even when you check on them).

It isn't the parent breaking the law, it's the kids. I realize that while these kids are underage, the fines would have to be paid by the parents .. but forcing these kids into community service is what needs to happen, not fines.

I'm sure we'll hear the broken record "there's nothing to do in Brazil". My response would be: Many of us have enabled our kids by allowing them to play more inside than out (video games/television) and we're paying the price now.

We all need to take some responsibility (as well as the kids) for why a curfew needs to be enforced, and be a more positive influence on our kids.

-- Posted by Emmes on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 11:45 AM

i think that the town should just leave the kids alone. there only young once and they are not hurting anyone. kids will be kids and the more rules you push on them the more they will reject them.

-- Posted by Itsher on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 12:23 PM

When determining the responsibility for the child, isn't the responsible party apparent? (Pun intended)

Kids may only be young for a while, but leaving them to their own devices would be chaos. We all live by the established rules of our society, excepting criminals who break those rules and society must deal with.

For the child, the law should never be the first or primary boundary. It becomes that when or if the parent abdicates their responsibility to mentor the child in our society and its rules. The primary boundaries for a child should be set by the parent.

Parenting is not an easy task nor is it a "one size fits all" situation. The parent should know what works for their child and the child should know the limits set by the parent and the consequences of going beyond those boundaries.

Self-discipline is the hardest thing to teach to a child who sees no need for discipline, order, or limitations; children only want what feels good and to do what they want when they want to do it until they learn self-control and that the world doesn't revolve around them. Of course, some who have reached adult age have not realized this. Some never will.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 1:04 PM

Enforce it please!

and while you are at it , there are alot of dogs running around.

I also think there should be a sign in the yards of child / sex offenders!

-- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 2:12 PM

right on carebutton

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 10:51 PM

on or about 22 january 2004; indiana's curfew law was ruled unconstitutional by the u.s. court of appeals seventh circuit court. and to the best of my knowledge; i can not find any rulings or decisions making it constitutional. therefore, the city of brazil should look very carefully before enforcing it's own curfew ordinances.

another indiana statute that should be looked at is: IC 31-37-3-3.5(b)(3)(E).

all persons in the united states have constitutional rights. the rights of our children should be protected and held to higher standards than our own.

besides the bill of rights, there are federal statutes that protect us from the deprivation of those rights. those statutes are 18 usc section 241; 18 usc section 242; and 18 usc section 245. there are other federal statutes which assist the people of the united states in the protection of those rights. 42 usc section 1983 and 42 usc section 14141 provide us with recourse for the deprivation of those rights.

if a juvinele is in the commission of a crimal act; it should be dealt with accordingly. but, when a juvinele is merely out past the hours that local government has restricted them to; the we should look at the constitutional and legal issues before enforcement.

this is a delicate matter before us. yes, parents that are clearly negligent by allowing their children to violate crimal statutes; should also be dealt with accordingly. but, when a juvinelle(s) conduct themselves in a lawful manner by the free exercise of their constitutional rights; then government also has no legal standing to deprive them of their rights "under the color of law".

-- Posted by madmarkbedwell on Sun, May 1, 2011, at 9:00 AM

brazilresident2003....your right i don't have children. I am a student at northview (hints the screen name?) when you old people go around and complain we think it's funny because whe you guys were younger you had everything too do and hardly no curfew. it's obvious it's parents like you that make their children runaway and act the way they do. learn too have respect. thanks goodbye.(:

-- Posted by Itsher on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 5:40 PM

NORTHVIEW101, if you're a student at Northview, I understand why our SAT scores are so low. Do me a favor: copy/paste your comment and hand it to the nearest English teacher. Be prepared to have your paper and your *ss handed to you. Your grammar and spelling are atrocious - and your immaturity is showing.

Those of us who HAVE been kids, know full well the responsibilities we had growing up - like paying for our own vehicles, gas, education, having a FT job, helping support the family .. and yes, we got in trouble. Difference is, the wrath of OUR parents was FAR WORSE than the police could imagine.

"Make their children runaway and act the way they do" - interesting. A mature adult realizes kids who run away do so because they don't get to do what they want, when they want - also known as "spoiled brat" syndrome. I'm sure you've heard the term.

Run away! See what it's like in the REAL WORLD, away from Mommy & Daddy's safe haven, where you have a roof over your head, food on the table, clean clothes and a warm bed to sleep in.

Hug your parents when you get home from school tonight, NORTHVIEW101, and THANK THEM. Respect is a 2-way street. Starting with YOU respecting your parents AND your elders.

BTW, it's "hence", not "hints", and "to have respect" not "too". I'm not an English teacher, but I'm happy to help you out. No charge. ; )

Oh, and yes, I'm old, ugly, fat and all of the other words going on inside that head of yours. I'm also a great parent with a good job, a nice home and reliable transportation. Youth and 'pretty' only get you so far in life .. enjoy it while you have it. I'll save you a seat next to me when you earn the "old, fat, ugly" label.

-- Posted by Emmes on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 12:29 PM

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