The door clicks shut quietly, disobedient feet shuffling across the pitch-black room. The grandfather clock at the end of the hallway ticks quietly, reminding her of the time. But even in the darkness, she’s caught breaking curfew for the second time this week.
According to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, curfews in the county are in place for all minors. No person under 18 is should be in a public place between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. on a weekday, or between 12 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. on weekends. Many teens are unaware of this law, and it can have repercussions if broken—those found in violation can be cited or fined.
Curfew laws are put in place to protect children from encountering illegal activities. Aside from those set by the county, many parents also enforce their own curfews within their family to keep track of their kids. As a parent, Spanish teacher Angie Jackson is a firm believer in curfews.
“Curfews are essential in keeping teens safe,” Spanish teacher Angie Jackson said. “A curfew needs to be set to set up as a boundary for the child not to cross.”
Aside from the law, Jackson feels curfews should be set properly according to the occasion, so she does not have an official curfew for her child.
“The law is very important, however, our ‘house laws’ are more strict than the law so I would say my child needs to follow our house rules and the expectation is to always follow the law,” Jackson said. “It depends on the event, where my child is going, and by whom they are with. Usually when the activity is over, my husband and I expect for our child to return home so there is not real curfew time set. However, if another activity is planned after the original, then our child lets us know and then we’ll give him a time to be home.”
When a child breaks house curfew rules, parents face the issue of disciplining them. Jackson said a failure to arrive home on time often affects future social events.
“An acceptable punishment would be for the child to be grounded and not to be allowed to go out of the house for the next events,” Jackson said.
Though parents may tend to want stricter curfews in an effort to protect their children, many teens want more leniency with the restrictions, according to freshman Khushi Pabboju.
“A good time for curfew is 10:30 to 11, because 9 is really early, especially during the summer. Parents shouldn’t be so strict about it, they need to be more lenient but if your kid is [disobedient] then parents should be more strict,” Pabboju said.
Though she may want more parents to be understanding about curfews, Pabboju said she does understand their necessity.
“The purpose of curfews is to make sure the [child] is safe and they’re not doing something illegal. Personally, if I was an adult I would give them to my children because they’re helpful,” Pabboju said.
Though many teens have experience dealing with their parents’ restrictions, some have had run-ins with the law as well. An anonymous sophomore said the police caught him out during curfew hours once, though he wasn’t aware of the laws at the time.
“It was at 4 a.m. and I was walking home. I was on my way back from a girls house and a police car was driving by. We started running but there was no place to hide,” the sophomore said. “The police asked why we were out and got all of our information and then drove us home and talked to my parents. I didn’t get a charge, I just got a warning. The cop seemed to be understanding about it, but at the same time he wanted us to know why it was dangerous.”
The sophomore said he was grounded afterward, and is now more aware of the importance of curfew laws.
“I think they are very helpful because there could be dangerous people out and if something got vandalized the same night you got caught you could be the one blamed for it,” the sophomore said. “Don’t sneak out, just wait until the next day to do or go where you want.”
Curfews are controversial, but in the end, they are set for many reasons, both by the law and by parents. It is to ensure that teenagers are not the victim of a crime or even the culprit of a misdemeanor. After all, nothing good happens after midnight.