St. John curfew moved up an hour

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 14, 2012



EDGARD – St. John the Baptist Parish teens under the age of 17 will have to be back home and off the streets an hour earlier on school nights and weekends as the parish council approved a measure to adjust curfew hours.

The council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance to move curfew restrictions for children under 17 up an hour from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. on school nights and from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The measure also holds parents accountable when they knowingly allow their children to be out past curfew hours unsupervised. The ordinance allows for exemptions for school-related functions.

St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre and Interim School Superintendent Herbert Smith both offered support for the measure. Each addressed the council during a public hearing prior to the vote.

“It’s a nice first step to getting some of these younger people away from the criminal element,” Tregre said. “Children should be off the street before 9 p.m. if school is the next morning,” Tregre said. “The goal of this ordinance is to help our children and our parents focus on education.”

Smith, an educator for 42 years, said he has seen many good students fall through the cracks and end up in the court system instead of the school system. He said the earlier curfew would have a positive impact.

“I think it will protect our youth and keep them from getting involved in high risk activities,” Smith said. “I’m in full support.”

Tregre said that when one of his deputies finds a curfew breaker, the child will be picked up and booked as a juvenile, and their parents will have to come to the Sheriff’s Office to get them. He said a mandatory court date will follow.

According to the ordinance, any parent or legal guardian who knowingly allows children to be out past curfew will be subject to a $100 fine and as many as 10 days in jail. The punishment also applies to business owners who knowingly allow minors to remain at their places of business past curfew.

“My deputies are motivated to do their job with this ordinance,” Tregre said. “If you know a child is out on the street unsupervised after curfew, I encourage you to call the Sheriff’s Office. You can do it anonymously.”

Councilman Lennix Madere Jr., a retired teacher and coach, also expressed his support Tuesday night.

“If a kid is out past 9, no. 1, he’s not getting enough rest, and no. 2, he’s not studying,” Madere said.

Councilman Michael Wright, who proposed the ordinance, said he hopes the measure will have a blanket effect that will curb crime and improve the quality of life in the parish.