Council approves curfew for Florence students

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Florence City Council passed a daytime curfew for students Monday. The curfew requires students aged 6-16 to be inside in Florence from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Councilman Ed Robinson said he first proposed a daytime curfew for students about eight years ago. He said in the past two years, he has worked to research and reintroduce the idea. The goal of the curfew essentially is to try to keep students off the streets of Florence during the school day.

Now that the curfew has passed, it will take affect with the new school year this fall.

Students found violating the curfew would be given a warning the first time. The second time, his or her parent would be fined, and a third violation could get the Department of Social Services involved.

Robinson said he believes the curfew will help discourage students from skipping school. However, there are some people who do not think it will be very effective.

Some city council members and parents say although the curfew would attempt to keep students in school during the day it really would only make students who skip school more careful about being seen.

Recent high school Steadmen Davis said he thinks the curfew is a good idea, but he does not see it as an effective deterrent for students who want to skip school.

"I applaud them for trying, but I don't think it's going to make a big difference," Davis said.

On the other hand, Robinson believes the curfew is at least a worthwhile effort to influence students.

"Until they are at an age where their minds are mature  to the point that it could really affect their actions in the future, then they need to be somewhat controlled and school is where they ought to be," Robinson said.

He also pointed out that he penalties are more focused on holding parents accountable. Robinson said the idea of the curfew is to encourage parents to be sure their children are in school, and if they do not do that, the curfew gets more people involved  he said.

The curfew passed with a 4-3 vote Monday, with the loudest objection coming over enforcement. Some city council members say enforcing the curfew will burden police. Robinson said the curfew is intended mostly to serve as a deterrent, and he does not expect police to make it a top priority.

"We want to put in the minds of the children [that] we want to make it uncomfortable for them to be on the street, not as a primary objective for the police," Robinson said. "So that's just an excuse for those who are against it. "

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