Daytime Curfew in Effect
by Escondido Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler
The phrase "stay in school" has taken on a whole new meaning for students in the City of Escondido. In October of 2005, the Escondido Police Department began enforcement of the new "daytime curfew" municipal ordinance. The ordinance makes it unlawful for any minor aged twelve to seventeen years, who is subject to compulsory education, to loiter, idle, wander, or be unsupervised in a public place on days and times when the minor's school is in session. The law is intended to prevent crime, either committed by juveniles or directed against juveniles, during school hours. If a student is contacted and cited for violating the daytime curfew, there are several courses of action that can be taken.
Since the inception of the ordinance, about 60 of the approximately 100 minors that have been contacted by police officers have appeared in juvenile court. On many occasions, the officer contacting the student has exercised discretion and warned the student of the violation. The student is then either delivered directly to their assigned school or released to a parent. Many students who are cited for the violation are allowed to bypass the courtroom by participating in the Police Department's diversion program. Diversion is reserved for those students who are willing to cooperate with the program by completing community service and submitting written essays. Students who do not agree to the requirements, or who would be disruptive to the program, are not eligible for diversion.
Of course, there are a number of different situations where school-aged children are legitimately out in public, and these are exceptions to the ordinance. Examples of these situations include the minor being accompanied by a parent or responsible adult, running an emergency errand, going to or from a religious or government-sponsored event, or participating in a recreational activity sponsored by adults. Children who are enrolled in home school, or those who have completed their education and received a California High School Equivalency Certificate, are also an exception to the ordinance.
The existence of the daytime curfew ordinance has become well known amongst school-aged children throughout Escondido. Students know if they are absent from school and found in public, they can be stopped by the Police and taken to school. The important message of "stay in school" has never been more clear.
If you have questions concerning Escondido's daytime curfew, you may contact Sergeant Neal Griffin of the Police Department's Special Enforcement Bureau at 760-839-4458.