News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
12th March 2009

Late-night streets no place for young people

posted in City Life, Youth |

 I’m not a lawyer and I’m certainly not an expert on Constitutional law, but it seems to me we’ve been limiting children’s civil rights (if you want to look at it that way) for years, and for their own good. Most kids I know would argue against anything that limits their freedom to do what they want. (Some youngsters—especially the two teens I live with—might also accuse us of being mean and unfair for doing so.) Be that as it may, it is appropriate to restrict children’s activities for safety reasons, and as a society we have been doing it for a long time. If the Supreme Judicial Court should rule against Lowell’s 11 p.m. curfew for youngsters under 17 years old, what next? Will it be unconstitutional to require children to wear helmets on bicycles and seat belts in cars? How about laws forbidding the sale of cigarettes and alcohol to minors? What about restrictions on attending R-rated movies? The fact that the SJC has chosen to review this law has made front-page news, both in today’s Sun and in yesterday’s Globe, but the concept that we might start down this slippery slope is frightening. Our young people should be safe at home in the late evening, whether they have a responsible adult demanding it or not. If they have good reasons why they are wandering the streets after 11, then the curfew gives police the authority to stop them and help sort it out. See LiL for additional thoughts and comments.

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