“There are no walls, no bolts, no locks that anyone can put on your mind,” said Mr. Frank. I remember my English teacher repeating that line long after we had finished that unit. It comes to mind now as the city contends with a battle over the curfew for teenagers under eighteen years old. Although I realize that most teens my age (seventeen) would argue against a curfew, I fully support the city’s intelligent choice to establish one.
We must remember the intent behind the curfew law. Its purpose is to keep people safe and to protect their property. Such laws should not only keep people physically safe, they should also reduce petty crime, thereby protecting people from high insurance rates as well. If a curfew successfully reduces crime and vandalism in our neighbourhoods, we all benefit. The safety and reputation of our town are at risk, not the feelings of a small group of teenagers who believe that “hanging out” is a vital issue.
Some citizens argue that curfews should be the responsibility of parents and that many teenagers already have curfews. Some citizens argue that teenagers are responsible and can determine their own schedules. I, however, as a teenager, do not see a curfew as a threat to my independence. On the contrary, a curfew actually reinforces my independence. People should be able to walk with confidence at night along the streets of this city. Walking along city streets at night now exposes them to the risks of being mugged.
Another reason to adopt the curfew law relates to our environment. When certain groups of teens gather at public places, they often leave garbage behind. Some of my peers assert that the best parties of the year have been in the Mini Mart parking lot. But what many people forget is that when activities are organized, clean-up is taken care of. If we litter at football games, dances, or restaurants, someone else will clean up after us. If we litter in parking lots or at street corners, however, the litter remains. Bottles, cans, food wrappers, and drink cups litter the ground marking the party area. A curfew law would surely correct such gross negligence of our environment.
Finally, and most importantly, I believe in this legislation because it benefits teens. Despite our acceptance of driving privileges and employment, we are not really adults and therefore not ready to take on adult responsibilities or consequences. When teenagers do get together and start partying, bad things can happen unexpectedly, and we all know from sad experience that they do. I think no one will forget last year’s accident that took the life of a sixteen-year-old girl who was walking along a dark road late one night. I strongly believe that young people like us need to be supervised in structured activities that allow us to have fun and to remain safe as well. A curfew can help make this a reality.
In conclusion, I would urge everyone to read the proposed legislation carefully. In doing so, people will see that the curfew does not attempt to lock up teenagers and keep them from working or engaging in organized activities at night. It aims at improving our community and the lives of its residents, teens included.