[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Norristown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-5-2004 by Ord. No. 04-17]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 135, Curfew, adopted 4-6-1982 as Ch. 93 of the 1981 Code, as amended.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Person under the age of 18 years.
- Any natural parent of a minor, as herein defined, or a guardian, or any adult person responsible for the care and custody of a minor. When used in this article, "parent" shall mean one or both parents.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any public street, alley, sidewalk, park, playground, public building or vacant lot in the Municipality.
- To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the streets, including the congregating of groups (or of interacting minors) totaling four or more persons in which any minor involved would not be using the streets for emergencies or ordinary purposes such as mere passage of going home.
In this article, the singular shall include the plural, the plural shall include the singular; and the masculine shall include the feminine and the neuter.
This is a curfew article prescribing, in accordance with prevailing community standards, regulations for the conduct of minors on streets at night for the protection of younger children in the Municipality from each other and from other persons on the streets during nighttime hours, for the enforcement of parental control and responsibility for their children, for the protection of the public from nocturnal mischief by minors and for the reduction of the incident of juvenile criminal activity, all for the good of minors, for the furtherance of family responsibility, and for the public good, safety and welfare.
It shall be unlawful for any minor to be or remain in or upon any public highway, park or other public place within the Municipality, or in any enclosure or vehicle which is on or in close proximity to any such public place within the Municipality, between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. on the following day and 12:00 midnight to 6:00 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Exceptions to the above are the following:
Minor accompanied by parent, guardian, or other person having legal care or custody of such minor.
Minor possessing a written statement dated that day and signed by parent, guardian, or other person having the legal care or custody of such minor, which statement specifies the time, place, purpose and necessity of the minor being in a public place contrary to this article.
Minor lawfully employed making it necessary to be on or in highways, streets, parks, etc., as stated above and possessing a current letter certifying the same and signed by employer, parent or guardian.
Minor on an emergency errand.
It is hereby made unlawful for any parent, guardian, or the person having the legal care or custody of a minor to allow or permit such minor to violate any of the provisions of this article without legal justification therefor.
Any minor found upon the streets, alleys, parks or public places within the Municipality in violation of § 135-3 shall be taken into protective custody by the police or legally deputized individual, said juvenile shall be cited and his parent(s), guardian or person having legal custody shall be notified to pick the juvenile up at which time the parent will receive a copy of the citation and be advised of the penalties of § 135-8.
Any minor who shall violate this article more than three times may, at the discretion of the proper Municipal officials, be reported to a society or organization, the purpose of which is to take charge of incorrigibles and delinquents, and proceedings shall then be taken in the proper court for the permanent welfare of such minor and a like procedure may be taken in cases where the arrest of the parent is not effective, or where for any other reason the provisions of § 135-3 of this article cannot be made effective by the imposition of fines and penalties.
The police officers of the Municipality in taking minors into custody shall use their discretion in determining the age and in doubtful cases may require positive proof of age. Until such proof is furnished, the officer's judgment shall prevail.
Any person who shall violate any provisions of this article, if he or she has no prior police contact of a serious nature, shall be given the opportunity to be placed in the Youth Aid Panel, or upon conviction thereof, the parents shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and cost, to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days.
All previous Norristown ordinances related to curfew are hereby repealed. Additionally it is hereby decreed that this article controls all provisions of previous ordinances that contradict this article.
[Adopted 5-2-2006 by Ord. No. 06-04]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- COMPULSORY SCHOOL AGE
- The period of a child's life from the time the child's parents elect to have the child enter school, which shall be not later than at the age of eight years, until the age of 17 years. The term shall not include any child who holds a certificate of graduation from a regularly accredited senior high school.
- Any privately owned place of business carried on for profit or any place of amusement or entertainment to which the public is invited.
- Any person other than a parent who has legal guardianship of a student or is a person in a parental relation, having control or charge of any student.
- HOME EDUCATION PROGRAM
- A program conducted, in compliance with the School Code, by the parent or guardian or such person having legal custody of the child or children.
- The Municipality of Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
- The natural or adoptive parents of a student.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any public street, highway, road, park, playground, public building, vacant lot or parking area open to the general public, including the interior of any motor vehicle being operated or parked upon or standing in or upon any such areas.
- Any institution, public or private, authorized and/or certified by the School Code.
- SCHOOL CODE
- The Public School Code of 1949, as amended.
- SCHOOL DAY
- The time period of any day that students are required to attend school.
- SCHOOL TERM
- The period of time elapsing between the opening of schools in the fall of one year and the closing of schools in the spring of the following year.
- Any person of compulsory school age.
- UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCE
- Any absence from school by a student which is not excused or permitted by school authorities.
It shall be unlawful for any student, required by the School Code to attend school, to remain in or play in or upon any public place or at any establishment or to wander or stroll upon public streets or rights-of-way when such student is required by the School Code to attend school during the school day.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to any student who:
Has attained the age of 16 years, and who is regularly engaged in any useful and lawful employment or service during the time the schools are in session, and who holds an employment certificate issued according to law;
Has been examined by an approved mental health treatment facility or by a person certified as a school psychologist or psychological examiner, and has been found to be unable to profit from further public school attendance, and who has been reported to the Board of School Directors and excused, in accordance with the regulations prescribed by the State Board of Education;
Has attained the age of 15 years and is engaged in farm work or domestic service in a private home on a permit issued by the School Board or the designated school official of the School District of the student's residence, in accordance with regulations which the Superintendent of Public Instruction is hereby authorized to prescribe;
Has attained the age of 14 years and is engaged in farm work or domestic service in a private home on a permit issued as provided in Subsection B(1) of this section, and who has satisfactorily completed, either in public or private schools, the equivalent of the highest grade of the elementary school organization prevailing in the public schools of the district in which he resides, if the issuance of such a permit has first been recommended by the District Superintendent of Schools having supervision of the schools of the district where such child resides or by the principal of the private school where such child is enrolled, and the reason therefor has been approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Is engaged in a home education program.
Any person who shall fail to comply with this article, shall on summary conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $300 and to pay court costs.
The student and every parent, guardian or person in parental relation must appear at a hearing established by the District Justice.
In lieu of or in addition to any other sentence imposed under this section, the District Justice may order the student to perform community service for a period not to exceed six months.
Every parent, guardian or person in parental relation, having control or charge of any child or children of compulsory school age, who shall fail to comply with the provisions of this article regarding compulsory school attendance, subject to the exceptions set forth in § 135-11B(1), (2), (3), (4) and (5), shall be subject to the provisions of this section.
Any parent, guardian or person in parental relation, having control or charge of any child or children of compulsory school age, who is convicted of a violation of this article, may be ordered by the District Justice to complete an approved parenting education program or counseling offered by a local school district or other community resource, in lieu of any fine imposed.
If the parent, guardian or person in parental relation charged with a summary offense under this section shows that he or she took every reasonable step to insure attendance of the student at school, he or she shall not be convicted of the summary offense.
Any police officer who finds a student violating this article may obtain the information from such student that is required in order to issue a citation to the student. A copy of the citation and/or written notice shall be provided to the parent or guardian of the student by the Director of Public Safety or his designee advising of the violation. The student should then be transported to school.
Any police officer who is notified by a parent, guardian or person in parental relation of a student who willfully refuses to attend school, shall obtain permission from the parent, guardian or person in parental relation, to enter the residence of the parent, guardian or person in parental relation, and issue a citation for the violation of the article to the student and return the student to the public school in which the student is, or should be, enrolled.
If a person suspected of violating this article refuses to satisfactorily identify himself to a police officer, that person may be temporarily detained to permit the police officer reasonable opportunity to determine his/her identify. If it is determined that the suspect is a student, subject to compulsory school attendance, then the parent or guardian of such student shall be notified and, unless requested by such parent, guardian or person in parental relation to place said student in a school other than the public school, the student may be placed in the public school in which the student is, or should be, enrolled.