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OC city considers daytime curfew for teens

January 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The San Juan Capistrano City Council wants to keep kids on the straight and narrow, giving police an extra tool to make sure students are in school during the day. The city council is considering a new daytime curfew for teens.A daytime curfew in San Juan Capistrano? The city council is considering a proposal aimed at children younger than 18. The curfew would stretch from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays.

"Overall I think it's a good thing because most students should be in school during those times," said high school student Jackie Mendoza.

"It's just another thing to put on the list of rules for kid already," said another high school student Saxon Acuna.

The Orange County Sheriff's Dept. sees it as a way to keep kids in school, away from crime and gangs.

"Studies have shown that when truancy rate is down and kids are in school there's less time for them to be involved in things that usually result in criminal activity," said sheriff's Lt. John Meyer.

Authorities say a daytime curfew would give more teeth to current education-code laws by giving deputies the discretion to fine kids caught breaking curfew. First offense would be $100. By the fourth offense it could result in a misdemeanor, up to $1,000 fine or jail time.

"If you can't go to school, if you don't have a ride, that's not something that cops should be involved with, giving people fines for that," said Emma Henderson.

Officials say there would be exceptions, such as young people going to work or who have parental consent to be out during school hours.

"It's a good idea to take care more of the kids and especially the kids won't be in the street," said San Juan Capistrano resident Maria Jauregui.

"Kids already have a lot of stuff to worry about concerning laws, and the last thing we need is another restriction on us," said high school student Matthew Kahler.

Residents will get a chance to voice their opinions about the daytime curfew at Tuesday night's city council meeting. The curfew would not apply during holidays or during the summertime when school is not in session. The meeting was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.