Teens speak out against curfew in spirited town hall meeting

At a town hall discussion in Rockville, teenagers, parents and council members debated the controversial youth curfew proposed in Montgomery County.

At the spirited meeting, teenagers took full advantage of the chance to speak out.

“I would like the council to explain why they believe they have the authority to overrule the constitution of the United States of America,” Rockville high school student Marissa Cleary asked.

More than a hundred teenagers showed up Wednesday night. They voiced concerns ranging from the legal to the economical.

“Having the curfew will make businesses and the Silver Spring area lose a lot of money,” said student Paul Checklos.

“Teens 17 and younger are not known as big spenders after 11 o clock during the week, so I'd work on a better argument,” countered Montgomery County council member Nancy Floreen.

The proposed bill would force teenagers under 18 without a parent to go home before 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. One student asked how they could know police wouldn’t target minorities.

Leah Muskin-Pierret{ }of Montgomery Blair high school went as far as to call it a "witch hunt."

“You care more about your election results than crime and think this would actually solve the problem,” she said.

“I would be grateful if you would pose that question to the county executive. We are reviewing his proposal,” council vice president Roger Berliner said, trying to deflect the outrage.

Another council member, Hans Riemer, defended the proposal.

“It is asking a fairly modest sacrifice from young people that they would not be in an unsupervised unstructured environment after 11 o’clock on a weeknight,” Riemer said.

At the same as the Rockville meeting, another session took place in Silver Spring on street gang activity. Like the curfew, it was motivated by high-profile crimes like a brawl involving 70 youths in downtown Silver Spring that ended in stabbing.