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March 14, 2008

Lights out in GBC?

City considers teen curfew

GUN BARREL CITY — It’s midnight on the streets of Gun Barrel City. Do you know where your teen-age child is right now?

City Hall may want to know. But first, council members want further consultation with their attorneys.

Not only has the City Council authorized its attorneys to bring them information from other municipalities concerning curfew restrictions, they’re also asking about daytime curfew restrictions on teen-agers.

If you’re one of those people, you might want to pay attention.

It all came up Tuesday night when City Manager Gerry Boren asked the council for guidance on what it should do about its current ordinance.

The state requires ordinances to be reviewed every three years so they can either be kept in place, abandoned or modified.

Boren then told the council about a Corpus Christi daytime curfew which has been enacted to cut down on truancy. “It’s to keep kids in school,” he said.

But Boren also warned that any type of curfew change would have to be justified.

He recommended checking dispatch logs at the police department to get a handle on whether there’s a real need or not.

Boren also said the current system of officers having to issue one, two or three warning tickets was restricting them in enforcing such curfews.

Actual citations, city officials said, are almost never given because the city has to keep up with the number of offenses each individual has committed.

Council members appeared to be in agreement that kids should be in school during the day, and in bed well before sun up, while allowing that there are exceptions when kids would not be punished for being on the streets after curfew.

Since some parents home school, their children could be on the streets at different hours.

The current curfew allows teen-agers to be out after curfew if they’re with a parent.

The council wants to know what legal complications might come up, so their attorneys will be back in a couple of weeks to discuss the matter further.

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