Get this annoying, expensive ACLU suit out of court now
So the ACLU has filed a suit in Federal Court challenging the Lake Oswego curfew law, citing:
* Violation of a teenager's constitutional right to move about freely in public space.
* Usurping parents' rights to direct and control their children.
* Giving police unlimited discretion to arrest young people who are not engaged in illegal activity.
Wow, this curfew law is clearly an atrocity in the eyes of the PAS students and they have engaged the ACLU to bring the suit. But wait, let's examine these issues.
* If the students and the ACLU feel the curfew law is a violation of a teenager's rights to move freely in a public space, then they better go after those equally onerous 'No Skateboarding or Skating' ordinances. The restrictions seem to be everywhere. I bet you can think of other examples. How about darting across a busy intersection against a red light? Should that be OK?
* I submit to you that if a 13 year old, or more probably a pack of 13 year olds, are on the street after 9:15 p.m. on a school night, there is little, if any, parental direction and control of their children. What possible positive outcome can there be? Rather than taking away parental control, it appears the curfew ordinance actually establishes some level of control where there is none at home.
Shouldn't these children be at home doing homework or sleeping?
* Now I love this last one. There is an ordinance establishing a curfew! Based upon a child's age, if they are caught in violation of this ordinance, they are 'engaged in illegal activity'. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.
Say that I'm going through the LOHS school zone at 40 miles per hour between 2 and 3:30 p.m. with yellow lights blinking. An officer cites me for a speeding violation.
Does the officer have the 'unlimited discretion' to cite or arrest me? You bet s/he does! Break the curfew ordinance or any other law - pay the price.
Now, how should this be resolved?
* Parents should assume responsibility for their children's adherence to local, state and federal law.
* LOHS administration should better manage PAS. Teachers and administrators should steer PAS students toward issues that can have more positive impact on our community.
Get this out of court. It (politely) annoys me greatly that our city must pay to defend this frivolous, trivial suit. It costs us all money, money that can be used to address many other problems. I hope the five young people who spurred this suit reflect back on their 'juvenile action' when they have the responsibility to pay taxes on meaningless issues.
Thomas N. Holder is a resident of Lake Oswego.