Sunday, May 26, 2024

Adult Supervision at the Mall

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Letters To The Editor

By Peter Mazzucco
Stratford High School

What teenager wants to go to the mall and have their parents walk around with them?  I don’t think many teenagers would agree this is a good idea.  Since fights have happened at various malls, including some in CT, the mall has put a “curfew” in place in which teenagers need to be supervised after a certain time if they want to be in the mall.

A mall is where people go to browse and purchase items from a collection of shops.  Shoppers go to the mall with stores in mind that they want to go to, they browse as they walk, walkways are big enough so people are not bumping into each other.  They do not go to the mall to be in the middle of a fight or to be fearful of their life.  During weekends people go with their families for shopping and fun in the malls such as the carousel or even to eat dinner. The shopping malls attract huge younger crowds.  Many people go window shopping and get exercise.

In 2018, a teen was arrested after numerous brawls broke out at different locations inside the CT Post Mall.  The article stated that, “80% of the people in the mall are unsupervised teens and they started bumping into each other, the noise starts, the talking starts. So, we have officers trying to continuously separate them, calm them down, send them on the way.  All the while trying to protect the patrons who are shopping here.  It just got to be too much. We could not control the crowd of angry, hostile teens”, said Officer Michael DeVito of the Milford Police Department.”  After the 2018 incident which closed the mall temporarily, the mall also had to close in 2019 after several fights in a short period.   Several malls put into place the “Parental Escort Policy” which dictates that minors must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older after a certain time depending if it is the weekend or not.  The adult must be over 21 and if asked needs to show id.  In 2020, all kids under 17 need to have an adult with them.  That number increased to under 18 in 2022, back to the age it began with in 2019.

Why would someone ban a teenager from buying video games or a gift for his/her family member?  I understand the safety issues that arise when a place is no longer safe.  Not only is it a safety issue but the stores lose money because people will not shop at the mall, instead they will buy online.  With that solution, the company still makes money however, the workers may lose their jobs if they don’t have sales for them to work in the store.  However, banning a certain age group is like saying all the kids in that age group are trouble.  Why can’t they just ban those that cause trouble?  Get more security during the holiday months to walk the mall.  Most will not start trouble if they see police or security walking around.  Maybe have them interact with the teenagers and get to know them.

Adults can cause trouble just as much as other people of different ages.  If you think about it, most stores in the mall cater to those under 20.  With that being said, teenagers will grow up disliking the mall and not shopping there as they get older, again forcing stores to close up and put people out of a job.  “Scaring away the older customers is the most amazing part of the mall policy, I wonder if teens are scary enough, teenagers are irresponsible but banning them is not the answer, policy should be reviewed and only troublemakers should be banned or punished ” says an anonymous lawyer when asked about reviews on parental escort policy.

Shopping malls are an important part of the lives of some people especially if you don’t have a computer.  This is how they shop for that special someone.  There has to be a better way to keep the malls safe.  Just have to look a little harder.  The one solution is not always the right one.

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