THE TOWN OF LAITILA IN SOUTHWEST FINLAND has announced that a curfew for school-age minors will be introduced in full, following months of consultation and media attention over the controversial policy.
The curfew has been described by members of the local government as “unofficial” and “informal”, meaning that although a curfew for young people will be in place, it is not legally enforceable. This is because it was determined that a curfew enforced by law and police action would lack legal grounds and possibly be in violation of human rights law.
The small town released its guidelines in full today, which stipulate that all children from grades 1-6, or aged 7 to 13, should not be outdoors after 19:30, while older teenagers should be home before 21:00.
The curfew was the result of months of consultation with parents and educational charities and organisations. The move follows similar successful attempts at enforcing youth curfews in Iceland, which has contributed to a dramatic decline in alcohol and drug abuse among young people.
Other areas in Finland have since attempted to replicate the so-called “Icelandic model” of child policing, although Laitila is the only town so far to secure approval for the scheme.
How the young people affected by the curfew will respond remains to be seen.
Adam Oliver Smith – HT