Teen will fight curfew citation | TheUnion.com

Teen will fight curfew citation

A 17-year-old boy will argue in Nevada County Superior Court today that Grass Valley police unfairly cited him for breaking the city’s daytime curfew ordinance rules.

He is a home schooled, he says.

Under the city’s daytime curfew ordinance, Grass Valley police officers can ticket minors who cut school between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Home- schooled students are exempt from the rule.

The Union is not identifying the youth because he is a minor.

The Grass Valley resident came to the Public Law Center Tuesday to find out what to do next. The center, located at the courthouse, helps clients navigate the legal system.

The boy said he was skating at Condon Park’s skatepark with a group of friends in May 2001 when he was cited for violating the city’s daytime curfew ordinance and for trespassing. (The skatepark was still under construction. It opened in July 2001.)

He did not have an identification card showing he was a home schooled, he said, but does now. His friends were more than 18 years old.

The boy says he studies at home through Wolf Creek High School, on the Silver Springs High School campus. The Union was unable to determine if he is a student there.

Kent VanDerSchuit, director of the Public Law Center, said the boy’s case is the first one of its kind to come to him.

The Grass Valley City Council approved the daytime curfew ordinance in September 2000 over the strong objections of parents of home-schooled children. The ordinance, an idea spearheaded by Terry McAteer, Nevada County superintendent of schools, became law after a campaign to repeal the decision failed to garner enough signatures.

The state has a truancy ordinance, but city and school officials who supported the Grass Valley ordinance have repeatedly said the state law is ineffective. Truancy leads to juvenile crime, they said.

The National Center for Home Education, a group based in Purcellville, Va., and other organizations say daytime curfews do not deter juvenile crime and are unconstitutional.

Neither Nevada City nor the county have daytime curfew ordinances.

Under Grass Valley’s ordinance, minors can be cited $25 to $75, plus court costs and assessments. Alternatively, students who cut school and are cited can be ordered to perform 12 hours of community service.

Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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