Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Reginae Butler (Central High School)
After the recent violent events involving teens during late hours of the night, highlighted by the September Kroger incident, the Memphis City Council has begun to discuss a new curfew of 10 p.m. for teens. However, teens and parents differ on what the curfew should be and how the new time on weekends could affect them if the curfew is implemented.
The current Memphis curfew dictates that any minor between 17 and 18 years of age can remain on any public street, highway, park, vacant lot, establishment or other public place within the city during the following time frames: Monday through Thursday between the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.;
Friday through Sunday between the hours of midnight to 6 a.m. Any minor 16 years of age or under is within the time frame of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday through Sunday between the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Valid exceptions to the current curfew include if the teen is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (or an adult authorized by a parent or legal guardian to accompany the teen for a specified time and purpose); if the teen is running an errand for a parent (before 12:30 a.m.); 45 minutes before and after leaving a job where a teen works; being on his or her home sidewalk or directly adjacent property (before 12:30 a.m.) and 30 minutes after directly returning from a school activity, religious activity (“or voluntary association”), or place of public entertainment, such as a movie, play or sporting event.
This current curfew is not strictly enforced on the teens of Memphis and will make the overall process of having a stricter curfew everyone has to follow harder on the enforcers, teens and parents.
If the new curfew on weekends for teens is 10 p.m. most of the free time teens have to hang out will be diminished due to the curfew.
Alanna Spears, a sophomore at Central High School said, “On weekends, and weekdays football games and basketball games don’t end until close to that time and would cut into my time to socialize with my friends and my free time.”
Another issue about enforcing a curfew of 10 p.m. is that on weekends many activities may run over the time of curfew, school activities being just one example. Many school-related sports, and late practice meetings end at a time where having a curfew of 10 p.m. would be hard on not only the student, but the parent.
Another Central High School sophomore Jacob Lacey said, “I go to places like Laser Quest and concerts on weekends and not all of those can be timed precisely and may run over, then I might not be able to experience going to activities like that because I’m worried about my curfew.”
When asked what would be an acceptable time to have a curfew, that becomes harder for teens to decide on. Many factors come into to play when deciding on a curfew like extracurricular activities, sports, concert start times, and having enough time to get home in time.
“An acceptable curfew would be 10:30 (p.m.) on weekdays and 11:00 pm for 16 and under minors, while 17-18-year-olds would be 12 (a.m.),” replied Spears.
When other teens where asked the same question, the majority of the responses mirrored that of Spears. The response given does not vary greatly with the curfew set in the Memphis Curfew Ordinance that is in place as of now.
The question and implementation of a curfew will not be an easy issue for officials. However, there does exist a curfew in Memphis for minors and now a new one is being discussed by the Memphis City Council.
Comment below and let us know what times you think the curfew should be