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Reynoldsburg Passes Day-Time Curfew

Reynoldsburg City Council has approved a limited day-time curfew for students. The new law will make it a misdemeanor for suspended or expelled students to roam the streets during school hours. WOSU reports some community members say the curfew is not needed.

It's late morning in Reynoldsburg and few people walk up and down Main Street those who do are adults probably on their lunch hour or running errands.

Farmers Insurance owner Charles Gunn sits at his desk his window looks out at Main Street. He said it's rare to see children and teens pass by during school hours.

"I don't see them out and running around so I assume they're in school," Gunn said.

Gunn just does not see a reason to have a day-time curfew.

"No need. Bottom line, no need. You know kids go to school," he said.

Jeff Hensley cut's a client's hair at Max's Barber Shop on Main Street. On this day Hensley said he saw two young men, who he said appeared to be teenagers, walk up to the adjacent video game store. But he said that's rare.

"Once in a while we see some kids, and we see the police stop them and ask them where they're going. But it's not too bad," Hensley said.

And like Gunn, Hensley's not sure a day-time curfew is needed.

"If a kid's is getting out of school early I don't think there's a problem with that if they're behaving themselves," Hensley said.

The curfew is a watered-down version of what Reynoldsburg City Council drafted this summer. First, council wanted a sweeping law...if you're a kid out on the streets during school hours and were stopped by police, you had to prove you're not skipping school and the parents could be held legally responsible.

After community push back, council came up with this legislation that affects school-age children who already are supposed to be out of school...students who have been suspended or expelled. If they're stopped, their parents face fines and jail time.

News reports have Council President Bill Hills saying the law will not "do anything." But Hills told WOSU it is the law is a preventive tool.

"Certainly there have been a couple of shootings within the city, within the last four or five months and they allegedly have involved minors. And you wonder why weren't the minors in school when the shootings occurred," Hill said.

Tricia Moore speaks for Reynoldsburg City Schools. She said the district did not take a stance on the legislation.

"Of course we will help them make sure students who are suspended are expelled from Reynoldsburg schools are aware of it, and know what the law is and that they need to stay at home," Moore said.

Moore added the school system's attendance rate is about 95 percent. Reynoldsburg Police would not comment for the story. But statistics indicate it's not a problem. The department has not picked up even one truant student last school year or during the first 2-and-a-half months of this school year.