Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Can Help Stop Provo's Daytime Curfew Ordinance...


First let me say "thank you" for attending the meeting we had this evening at our home with Sterling Beck to discuss actions we can take to defeat the proposed truancy ordinance in Provo. The fact that you came tonight has given me renewed hope that we can defeat this bad proposal before it becomes a law. Here are a few points I learned from listening to Mr. Beck:

1. Expect the council to suggest that perhaps a single representative from those opposed should speak for all. Do not fall for this. Every person has a right to address the council both in the pre-meeting time at 7:00 (3 minutes each) and during any public hearing (longer, perhaps as long as 15 minutes). Do not give up your freedom to speak because a slick politician suggests it would be better for all if you remained silent. Get in line and say what you have to say even if someone else has already said something very similar. Remember, you do not need to be a resident of Provo to address the council.

2. Expect the council to suggest that individuals from the public could not possibly hope to understand the wording of the proposed ordinance as well as the politicians do. Be prepared to refer to the specific text of the proposed ordinance to substantiate your concerns. Here's a link to a copy of the proposed ordinance along with Gove's commentary:

3. Expect council members to try to assuage your concerns by saying that there has been a lot of misinformation floating around in the media and in email. Ignore such attempts to shake your confidence. State your concerns.

4. Remember that when you will speak you are addressing the council. They are the only ones you are talking to (in fact, your back will be to the audience when you speak). They will be on a raised dais, behind a table, and with their associates. You will be alone and behind a flimsy half-podium. The whole setting is calculated to make you feel inferior. Be respectful as you address the council, but remember that you are not a supplicant to the panel; they are your servants. They serve at the will of the people. Stay calm and focused.

5. The study meeting is when we have the strongest possibility to influence the vote of the council. The study meeting will probably start at 4:00 (for sure it will start by 5:00). It will be in the main council chamber. This is probably the most important meeting to attend. Please come to this meeting and be prepared to speak.

6. Remember to focus your comments as a concerned citizen. If you say you are a concerned homeschooler, it will be easier for the council to dismiss your comments.

7. The council chambers are located in the Provo City Complex at 351 West Center Street in Provo (same complex that houses the Police Station).

8. We will begin to gather at the Provo City Complex at 1:00 to hold signs and make our position known. Yes it will be a long day, but please come for as long as you can.

9. Bring signs and stuff to make signs. cardboard, markers, crayons, posterboard.

10. We need bodies. Get as many people to commit to come as possible. This is critical. Each of these people need not talk, but having bodies there to hold signs and be supportive will be very important. This is a bad law. How often do your neighbors get a chance to participate in a real political protest? The council is on the verge of passing this law. It is a bad law and will have all kinds of unintended consequences. Call in any personal favors you can to get bodies there.

11. We need kids. How often will such a law be up for protest that will have such a direct effect on children? This is a great opportunity for kids to get involved in the political process in a positive way. Think of the effect it will have on their confidence and lives when we prevail and prevent this from becoming a law.

12. Sign up for a time to appear at the protest and for a topic at the following google docs: Please sign-up by 8:00pm Monday.
No Daytime Curfew Arguments
City Council Meeting Appearance Sign-up
These are just guidelines to give us some idea of what to expect. The ideal situation is to appear as close to 1:00 as possible and plan to say through the late hours. Bring food, get comfortable, bring a book to read, math to work on. What a great image to have kids working on school work while the are at the protest.

13. Contact the media. We need to have as much media coverage as possible. Everyone should contact at least two of the following outlets to let them know of the planned protest.

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Doug Wright
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Thanks for being involved. This is a short push, but let's push hard. This will be much easier to defeat than it will be to repeal.

Just doing a little research on the ordinance and what I could find.
(Big Thank You to Grant for researching the following info.)

The first part is very close to this resolution by the Alabama Board of Education:
Many of the sections are used in other Utah municipalities for truancy or curfews:
And Utah counties (this one has been around a while)
And around the US.
This says the Mayor's current administration proposed the ordinance:
Some information from Council women Sherrie Hall Everett
Utah State Code on Truancy prevention
Case law example on curfew
FYI: This Massachusetts law also shows that the language used in the Provo ordinance comes very close to that used there. Their curfew law has a provision that says: "(5) Adults can also violate the ordinance. "(2) A parent or guardian of a minor commits an offense if he knowingly permits, or by insufficient control allows, the minor to remain, either on foot or in a vehicle, in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city during youth protection curfew hours. (3) The owner, operator, or any employee of an establishment commits an offense if he knowingly allows a minor to remain upon the premises of the establishment during youth protection curfew hours."
Austin Texas Police offered to supply a homeschooler with an ID card to prevent problems with a very similar ordinance. Shows that other communities have had to deal with issues regarding the language of the ordinance.


grams and papa said...

You go girl!!! I can only hope I am still walking this earth when you are elected governor of the great state of Utah!!!!

You mom (of course) :)

grams and papa said...

opps... that was from your mom of :)

chellerella2002 said...

Thank you for hosting the meeting last night and for gathering all the relevant information. I have confidence we can prevail on Tuesday, but it would not have been possible without you and your husband taking the initiative on this issue. Thank you again.

Michelle Curtiss

Clorinda said...

When I first heard about this, I thought of about 7 different objections all at once. Why can't the city see them? Thank you for posting this information. Wish I'd known about the meeting in time to go.

I am a soon-to-be home-school mom living in Provo and this just bugs!

Clorinda said...

Here is a statistic from BYU that may help out:

There were 418 under 18 year olds admitted to BYU in 2010, 32 of whom are Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.

Also, the last District report I could find online (2008) showed 976 Seniors, and 5 home schooled and 2 private schooled children also attending public school part time.

Think of all the people that could be harassed with no good reason!

Anonymous said...

It has been made abundantly clear that there is a truancy problem in the Provo City schools. Serious truancy (more than 10 days per year truant) is up almost 100% in the last 6 years. If a truancy ordinance is not the answer, what should we recommend? Just going to a council meeting to fight something we disagree with is only half of the answer. What other alternatives do we suggest for dealing with the problem? We need to bring some other good solutions, not just a complaint about the first solution that has been offered.

Maybe you could offer to serve on a community-wide task force to address the issue of truancy if the Council decides not to adopt the ordinance. Just a thought.

Clorinda said...

We already have truancy laws on the books and the district has rules. Are those being exercised to the fullest already and truancy is still increasing? Nobody is answering this.

Another absurd thing is that Mayor Curtis is claiming in his blog that this is about gang activity and HIGH SCHOOL truancy. If so, why is this targeting Kindergartners and 1st Graders as well?

Do children who drop out of school at age 16 have to prove they have dropped out? How? They would legally be exempt from this. (Unless the law has changed to make it illegal to drop out at 16.)

Anonymous, you're right that some plan to help the truancy rate decrease needs to be addressed, but we don't want a bad law to be put on the books that is going to harm more than it will help.

We shouldn't take the first solution offered simply because it is the first solution. If put in place, it will be very hard to alter/repeal it when we do have a better idea to put in effect.

Melanie said...

Thank you for getting involved. Your attempt to give information and solicit protest is great! Unfortunately, some of your facts are incorrect:
1: No public comment will be allowed during study sessions.
2: No signs will be allowed in Council Chambers.
3: Comments about items on the agenda will not be allowed during the first "public comment" portion of the meeting.
4: Getting to the truancy ordinance may take a very long time. Children could be sitting for HOURS -- an unrealistic expectation?
5. Sterling Beck has shown on several occasions that he does not understand the ordinance. You should have invited someone else to brief you.

Nickie said...


Thanks for your comment. My response is too long to fit here. I'll make a separate post to accommodate it

Märta said...

Totally supportive! Thank you for taking a stand. Praying for you as I live out of the area but am very concerned. Don't be discouraged or distracted. Be strong and of good courage!!! :) This ordinance is bad. It is wrong! Thank you and God Bless!

Anonymous said...

You do not have the full story here, and you are getting used by Sterling Beck. I sincerely advise you to listen first, offer to get involved, etc before you go charging into a fight.

Tori said...

I'm glad you're fighting this. It is disturbing for parents all over and espcially homeschooling parents who know what's going on in the world with the UNCRC! This is another "testing" law, it seems to me. Those are going on all over the place and it's SO upsetting. Thank you for standing up against this ridiculousness.

steven said...

I would think that businesses in your area would be upset. I am from Vernal and I know that my family, along with many other families from here, shop in the Provo area. Not any more.
Word of what is happening out there is spreading fast out here. Obviously I can't be there tonight but if there is someone I can call or email I would be glad to share my thoughts and help if possible. I know if it passes I'll be heading to Grand Junction. Just as close and shopping is just as good.

Tearin said...

this is a big deal. Curfew punishes many and takes responsibility away from parents. Not only that, this limits our freedom, gives it away, and "a man who gives up a little bit of personal freedom for security deserves neither..." and rarely gets either.

Children are to be seen and not heard, eh? And what about all the private schools that DON'T keep the exact hours of the public school? How are the cops supposed to know the difference? There is simply no LOGICAL or MORAL way to enforce this. It's the parents duty, and if parents don't want to do it, then they should get fixed so they can't have kids.

This doesn't help High School students either. For example: my junior year, sometimes a teacher would do "release time" for certain classes so we could go do research or work on projects that the high school did not have facilities for. How is a cop to know about things like that? This law would SEVERELY limit the ability of good teachers. School is not a babysitting service, it's a place of education. It should stop being treated like a babysitting service.

In general, this is just a way to make more fines (which, btw, students can't pay, so parents have to) make it more difficult for parents to BE parents, and to remove both power AND responsibility from the people.

Ypsilantian said...

A similar ordinance was proposed in my hometown of Ypsilanti, MI about five years ago by the Police Chief. His reasoning was that a daytime curfew was needed to deal with "school age teens" loitering on certain streetcorners.

The ordinance was killed by the packed audience of homeschooling families at the public hearing, who used similar talking points to those in your excellent post here.

After an hour-plus of 3-minute comments against the ordinance, the City Council wisely directed the Chief to go back and study the issue again. Also wisely, he did - and discovered to his chagrin that the "school age teens" were not only beyond school age but also most were non-residents, many on probation or parole for petty crimes.

The Chief withdrew the ordinance and instead worked with the local courts to get restrictions on those under court supervision to prohibit them from loitering in the areas where the city was having crime problems.

The result? - the problem individuals went elsewhere and the homeschooling families were thanked for their service to the city.

Myranda Holgerson said...

Nickie, you guys are FANTASTIC!!! The UHEA is officially grateful for your efforts on behalf of our homeschool community! Way to BE!!!:-)

I only wish I could have been there to witness -- I look forward to your update!!:-)

Myranda Holgerson

Anonymous said...