Monday night, Rockford’s City Council unanimously approved a daytime curfew ordinance but the plan didn't come without a lot of discussion, and some tweaking.
Aldermen approved the daytime curfew, but they also passed an amendment ensuring the plan is reviewed every three months. The ordinance - which goes in effect in ten days - makes its illegal for kids under the age of 17 to loiter in public places between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on school days. Home school students, or those involved in a school, church or recreational activity would be exempt.
City leaders point that while the ordinance isn't a cure all, it shows Rockford means business in reducing truancy.
"We’ve got to send the message keep teeth on this ordinance, so that the community knows that will be on an ongoing basis partnering with district 205 to make sure we are doing the job," Mayor Larry Morrissey said.
"The jails are built for people who don't understand what laws are about and you have to have rules and you have to have laws, and kids have to learn early in life that you go to school, you get an education, so you can be productive in society," Alderman Victory Bell said.
Anyone convicted of violating the daytime curfew law will face fines between $10 and $500. The ordinance also allows the court to force parents and juveniles into community service.