Curfews and summer safety

With the end of the school year fast approaching, it is not too early to start thinking about what our children will be doing with the freedom that comes with summer. While we all want to be able to take advantage of the warm weather, which we only seem to get a few days a year up here in the frozen northland, there are some things that should be kept in mind to keep it an enjoyable and safe summer.

The City of Fargo has a curfew ordinance in place for all juveniles under the age of 16. The hours of this curfew are from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. every day of the week. Here are the restrictions as given in the ordinance:

1. It shall be unlawful for any minor to remain in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city during curfew hours.

2. It shall be unlawful for any parent or guardian of a minor to knowingly permit, or by insufficient control allow, the minor to remain in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city during curfew hours. The term “knowingly” includes knowledge which a parent or guardian should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a minor in the legal custody of that parent or guardian.

3. It shall be unlawful for any owner, operator, or any employee of an establishment to knowingly allow a minor to remain upon the premises of the establishment during curfew hours.

The following are the exceptions to the curfew, (when the above are not considered violations):

That the minor was:

a. accompanied by the minor’s parent or guardian;

b. on an errand at the direction of the minor’s parent or guardian, without any detour or stop;

c. in a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;

d. engaged in an employment activity, or going or returning home from an employment activity, without any detour or stop;

e. involved in an emergency;

f. on the sidewalk abutting the minor’s residence or abutting the residence of a next-door neighbor if the neighbor did not complain to the police department about the minor’s presence;

g. attending an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor, or going to or returning home from, without any detour or stop, an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor;

h. exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly; or,

i. married or had been married.

Basically this means that unaccompanied minors under the age of 16 cannot be out and about by themselves or with friends after 11:00 PM. They can be out on an errand for a parent or going to and from work, but these trips must be directly to and from said destination.

Following these simple guidelines will prevent a citation for violating the curfew ordinance.

Additionally, I would like to mention a few safety tips to keep in mind:

Parents should always know where their children are going. If the child has a cell phone it should be carried with them (Like they would ever forget it!), and let parents know of any changes in location.

Parents should meet the parents of their children’s friends if possible, so you know who your child will be spending time around, especially if there will be any overnight visits. You should also have contact information for these people.

If a child will be walking or biking home in the dark, it is a good idea for them to call home before they leave with an estimated time of arrival and route to be taken so you know when to expect them.

No one wants to be seen as paranoid, but as a parent it is our responsibility to keep our children safe to the best of our ability, and that includes keeping track of our kids and knowing who they are associating with.

Let’s all have a GREAT summer vacation!!!!

(Kimberly Claus is the School Resource Officer at Discovery Middle School. She can be reached at Kimberly.Claus@fargo.k12.nd.us.)

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