Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation to effectively eliminate juvenile curfews in Texas, granting more freedom to homeschool students.
House Bill 1819, signed by Abbott on June 9, removes the right of political subdivisions to “implement or adopt a juvenile curfew,” rendering local juvenile curfew ordinances unenforceable.
This bill has far-reaching consequences for juveniles aged 16-18—especially high school students.
Juvenile curfews were first implemented in Texas back in the 1890s to deter juvenile crime, and other cities throughout the state began to follow suit.
However, public high school students are not the only ones benefiting from HB 1819. For homeschooled students throughout the state, HB 1819 marks the end of “disproportionate discrimination.”
The Texas Home School Coalition believes HB 1819 will give parents more control.
“We see this bill as a massive win for homeschool families and all parents as it continues to uphold the philosophy that parents are the best decision-makers for their children,” said Jeremy Newman with the Texas Home School Coalition. “[HB 1819] is a game changer.”
From 2019 to 2020, Texas police made 11,680 arrests for curfew violations and loitering. While HB 1819 is not expected to reduce violent juvenile crime, it will limit the number of juvenile arrests across the state.
Notably, the city of Fort Worth allowed curfew laws to expire back in February of this year. The ordinance had been in place for nearly 30 years prior to its eventual expiration. According to the city, police made a mere 120 arrests within the last three years.
However, for the city of Lubbock, juvenile curfew ordinances are a key part of a larger plan to deter juvenile crime. This decision came after a unanimous vote from the city council in September of 2022. Lubbock City Ordinance 14.03.031, which took effect in mid-May, outlines how it is “unlawful for persons aged 16 or younger” to be out in the city between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
According to Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell, officers will make every effort to cite juveniles and parents alike for broken curfews. So far in 2023, the Lubbock Police Department has reported 13 citations to juveniles and eight citations to adults.
Despite intending to continue enforcing the curfew laws for the rest of 2023, LPD will soon be required to stop arresting juveniles for breaking curfew.
HB 1819 goes into effect September 1, 2023.