A curfew proposal in Montgomery County, Maryland, has not been an easy sell. Opponents range from parent-teacher organizations to a town council and alternatives, such as anti-loitering laws, may win out.
The law would prohibit “children” younger than 18 years old from outside areas past 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and past midnight on Friday and Saturday and would last until 5 a.m. the next day.
Politicians suggested the law back in July, following a fight between gangs. A senior politician opposes the law and has been accused of delaying a vote. The politician said the time has given people an opportunity to consider the law, alternatives, and amendments. One amendment would remove the requirement that parents must attend parenting classes if their children violate the curfew.
The alternative, to outlaw loitering, could be just as bad, since one person’s idea of loitering is another person’s idea of enjoying the outdoors. If you’ve ever wondered why there are no public benches, part of the reason is to discourage people from congregating. Sometimes the only place to sit in downtown areas is in a parked car or a restaurant.
It’s entirely possible the delay and the alternatives are being used solely to avoid a vote on any of the options. As more time passes since the gang fight, less people will be clamoring to clear teenagers from the streets.