Letters to the Editor

Editor’s Note: The Stratford Crier recently invited young adults enrolled in the Stratford High School Journalism Class (taught by Andreas F. Marangos) to submit articles that reflected what “our next generation” were concerned about, thought about, and wanted to see changed. Recently, The Connecticut Post Mall located in Milford, established a new policy that applies to everyone under the age of 18. That policy requires that anyone under the age of 18 is to be supervised by an adult 21 or older.

This edict by the Connecticut Post Mall brought about the following submissions to our Letters To The Editor category. Eleven students (out of 19 students in the class) submitted a Letter To The Editor with their thoughts on the edict, as well as what they see as solutions.

Adult Supervision for Teens at the Mall

Letter To The Editor

By Atiana Louis-Charles

Recently the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford set up a Parental Guidance Program, where teens are to be supervised by someone above the age of 18 past 4:00 p.m.

This has been caused due to many fights breaking out and kids acting up in a public mall. The fights have caused multiple families to not come to the mall therefore the mall losing a lot of profit they used to have.

The Connecticut mall has this program lasting up to January 3rd, 2023. One adult may accompany four youths, according to a mall spokesperson. The adult has to stay with them while at the mall, Proof of age is required, a driver’s license or ID, and even may be required for those under 17. Those who can’t provide proof of age will be asked to leave the mall.

This program isn’t new to the mall though, It’s not the first time the Connecticut Post Mall has started a similar policy. Similar rules were enforced during 2018, 2019, and 2020 after brawls involving teens. This policy only has an effect on the Milford mall, this is causing teens to go over to the Trumbull Mall and do exactly what they did at Milford.

Starting brawls and chaos.

This all started in 2018 where the CT Post Mall was closed due to teens starting a brawl leading to arrest, “The Connecticut Post Mall in Milford has closed for the night following multiple teen brawls, according to News 8’s Mario Boone. The Milford Police Department tells News 8 the mall closed at 7:30pm Wednesday. Multiple officers responded. Fights started breaking out at around 4:00 p.m Wednesday, according to police.” Although only one teen was arrested and No injuries were reported it doesn’t make it okay for someone to come in a family friendly public place and start unnecessary problems. They could have talked it out, or they would’ve done whatever they needed to do somewhere else. Due to these problems, the mall is losing a good half of their own business because people would rather find somewhere else to go than the mall because of these issues.

What effects does this policy have on my age group? This policy has had a very big impact on my age group, it prevents all of us from doing something we enjoyed because of others’ mistakes, this hurts us all as one big group. Do I think this policy is fair? Personally no, this rule has ruined a lot of teens’ only way to have fun. Yes the brawls should end and be handled elsewhere but I think the policy is just gonna be surpassed as it isn’t being as enforced as people claim it is, as many teens still run the mall free, not getting stopped at all. Although I don’t think it is fair, it is right. It definitely needed to happen and was a good idea.

What has led to this policy? Since this policy was implemented teens have found other malls to terrorize and start problems in. I feel no matter what teens are going to be teens and start chaos wherever they are.They will find ways to surpass the rules even if it means running from security or hiding in stores.

Cited Sources –

CT post mall closes due to brawl (2018) – https://www.wtnh.com/news/connecticut/new-haven/milford-pd-multiple-teen-brawls-lead-to-one-arrest-at-ct-post-mall/

Milford Mall starting to close early due to brawls – https://patch.com/connecticut/milford/milford-mall-updates-youth-policy

Teens needing adult supervision to come in the mall – https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/connecticut-post-mall-to-implement-parental-guidance-required-program/2387772/

Adult Supervision at the Mall

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.

Parental Escort Policy – Bad for Business

Letters To The Editor

By Mackenzie Snyder
Stratford High School

The “Parental Escort Policy” (PEP) at the CT Post Mall is not a fair policy for the mall to implement. While CT Post Mall is a private business and does legally have the right to put such a law in effect, its target audience is the younger population. Implementing this policy prevents said audience from shopping and supporting the mall as it wants them to.

The teenage population is a difficult one due to the considerable amount of anger and violence that resides within it. The constant fighting and arguing that comes from teens is seen in a wide majority of places, not just the mall. Implementing a policy such as PEP is one way for the mall to prevent its customers from fighting but also to create a more comfortable environment for those shoppers who are not involved in the aggressive behavior.

What doesn’t help, is the crowding of the people and the encouragement of friends and others who may want a fight to continue. Once a fight breaks out, people tend to crowd around and want to watch, even occasionally jumping in to join. These acts cause the larger fights in the mall, which have ultimately resulted in both the temporary closing and the enacting of the policy. Although in all honesty, it is not that easy to prevent these happenings from occurring.

While the policy may decrease the risk and amount of fights, it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of them happening. According to the policy, a person under the age of 17 needs to be accompanied by an adult who is 21 or older, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a teen needs to be accompanied by a parent. If a minor has an older friend or maybe a cousin they happen to be close with and they are 21 or older, that person is allowed to accompany them which means that fights very well could still break out.

The policy also causes the CT Post Mall’s target audience to migrate from said mall to what most likely will be the Trumbull Mall. The Post Mall is now losing funds to a competitor as a result. In addition, while the policy may ensure some safety to the Post Mall, the violent crowd also counts as those who will migrate to the Trumbull Mall, therefore possibly resulting in an increase in violence there.

It is also important to recognize that just because it was some teenagers who decided to fight, it doesn’t seem right or in the mall’s best interest to punish all of them. As someone who is a minor myself, the CT Post Mall is the closest mall to where I live. My next best option would be to drive to Trumbull. On top of that, the CT Post Mall is where I go to see the majority of newly released movies that I watch. If I were to go see a movie and happened to be stopped by security, I would be asked to leave the mall which would be infuriating to have to endure. It is not right for everyone to be punished for the ignorant decisions of a smaller crowd of people.

Teen Perspective on Adult Supervision Policy

Letters To The Editor

By Jaydenn Diaz
Stratford High School

In my opinion, I believe that adult supervision for teens at the mall is not necessary, mainly for the fact that I feel as if all people should just be able to walk into the mall and make any type of purchases.

However, I do understand the reasoning behind why the mall would enforce the policy, mainly because the article states, “It’s not the first time the Connecticut Post Mall has enacted a similar policy. Similar rules were enforced during 2018, 2019, and 2020 after brawls involving juveniles.” So I do believe that the policy is understandable but to a certain extent the article also talks about how “The policy is in effect until Jan. 1 and applies between 4 p.m. and mall closing time. One adult can accompany up to four youths. Proof of age may be required for youths and supervising adults.”

In conclusion I believe that adult supervision at the mall is not necessary for teens.

Mall Policy Does More Harm Than Good

Letters To The Editor

By Grace Miron-Dominguez
Stratford High School

It’s a gloomy, rainy Saturday afternoon. There is a melancholy feeling in the air and you face the dreaded question, what will you do to cure your boredom? For many people, the answer is going to the mall. Shopping, food, movies, everything to create the perfect rainy day activity. But sometimes, people take the freedom of this attraction for granted, and that’s when bad things happen.

This was made clear when several fights over the past couple of years broke out at multiple malls (CT Post Mall, Westfield Trumbull Mall).  As a result of these altercations, a policy has been instated that prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from entering the mall if unaccompanied by an adult over the age of 21 after 3 p.m Monday through Friday and after 1 p.m on Saturday and Sunday. I think this policy is unfair to retail stores, to teenagers, and to families.\

This policy will be bad for many businesses in the mall. Some stores mainly rely on the teenage demographic to buy their product because that is the age group that is the store’s target audience. However, after the policy was enacted, their financial standing will be at risk because now they are potentially losing business due to the regulation of teen attendance in the mall after 3:00.

Also, if it’s after 3 and a person looks to be unaccompanied by an adult and seems to be younger than 18, they could get asked for a form of identification and that could severely get in the way of transactions happening in the store, which also lowers the number of sales the store gets daily. After seeing how the policy affects the atmosphere of the mall, people aren’t going to want to go there anymore. So they will migrate and bring their business to another mall.

This policy is also unfair to the people who have done nothing wrong. Teenagers who don’t go to the mall and get into fights, but go to enjoy themselves. Even if a teenager has done nothing wrong, they still have to be punished for other people’s actions. Not everyone under 18 can find an adult to accompany them at the mall, which will prevent them from going at all.

For example, what if a single mom has more than 4 kids? Right now, the policy says that there has to be one adult for every four kids in a group. She could recruit someone to help, but it isn’t that easy, so what happens if she can’t find anyone. Going to the mall would seem like a chore rather than an activity of choice.

Additionally, I don’t think this policy will prevent altercations, but rather cause more of them. Just because a certain time of day is blocked off, doesn’t mean that teens can’t just go to the mall earlier in the day and fight then. It is a poorly thought out system that needs to be looked at again. Also, if a bystander is asked for identification, and the person doesn’t want to give it to the security official, this could lead to another situation or potential altercation that can be avoided. So really, the policy can add to the risk of fights breaking out.

This policy has many unseen effects on the business of the mall, and the people that enjoy going there. I love going to the mall, I am a teenager under the age of 18, and I have been taught how to act in public. This does affect me personally because it prevents me from going to the mall with my friends after 3 without adult supervision. I haven’t been affected by it yet because I’m lucky enough that I have an adult that can bring me, but it makes me think about all of the people who would love to go to the mall, but can’t find a person to bring them. I think this policy needs to be revised so that we can make the mall a place where people can come and enjoy themselves without worrying about when the next fight is going to break out.

New Policy at Connecticut Post Mall

Letters To The Editor

By Jacob Brennan
Stratford High School

In recent news, Connecticut Post Mall is putting an age restriction at their mall again. The rule states that an adult must accompany anyone under the age of 18 (over 21). This whole rule was made because during the holiday season there tends to be fights that start and security needs help with dealing with this problem. The help that they decided to use is a rule change that affects a good portion of the mall’s population. This rule change will be in full effect this holiday season and a lot of people are not happy with this rule change.

The rule change is definitely something that should have a lot of controversy around it. I think that there were ways around stopping this problem rather than cutting out most of your market. I do agree with the Mall that there is a problem with the fighting juveniles. But the way that they are going about fixing this problem I don’t believe is the right way. I think that more security would prevent this a lot better and stopping all the people that wouldn’t get into fights is just unfair. There are too many people who want to go to the mall that just want to shop and not walk around but they are being affected by this rule change in a major way. Especially during the holiday season people need to go shopping for Christmas.

This policy affects me pretty well because if I want to go to the mall with my friends I need to bring an adult which everyone knows that’s just not as fun. I don’t go to the mall often but when I do I tend to not have someone over 21 with me. A lot of adults are happy with this rule change because they have been affected by the fights and it has changed their experience. I get why they are trying to do something about this problem because it is a very big problem and should have controversy. The mall needs to think this over again I believe because this is not the answer and it hasn’t been since 2018. But on the other hand they have kept doing the same thing since 2018 so maybe it is working and they do not care about the other consequences like businesses losing customers.

Most of the time kids under the age of 17 do not go to the mall to spend money they go to hang out so that could be a counterargument. However, I believe that the actual 17 year olds that want to spend money should not be punished like this.

I think there has to be an answer to get the people who are just there to start problems out and the people that actually want to spend money to stay in. The mall brings in too much traffic for them to be kicking people out, I feel like the mall needs to realize that they are losing a lot of their profits and need to make a change to get the people to spend money. But I guess stopping the fighting is more of a problem for them.

In conclusion I think that it is unfair that the shoppers who are under 18 are being kicked out for reasons that are not their fault. I get the mall has a problem with people fighting but kicking everyone out that is not of age is too harsh and they need to realize this.

Prohibiting Minors From the Mall!?

Letters To The Editor

By Dantrell Dicks
Stratford High School

The Milford mall implemented a new rule that prohibits minors from being in the mall without an adult under the age of 21. This policy is an unfair rule to minors who go to the mall and act accordingly. This also makes it harder for minors who go there to have a good time with their friends and do things like go to the movies or just go shopping. This is also unfair because the amount of minors who go there and act right is greater than the ones who don’t. This policy even affects people around the age group of 17 who do things for themselves like buy clothes and do so at the mall.

The mall is within their right to do so, but it is still an unfair rule for a lot of minors. One situation used to justify this decision was a brawl that happened in the mall years ago.

There are kids who don’t act accordingly in the mall but that could be handled by security. This is one of those issues that everyone in the group doesn’t have to be punished for a select few. It’s a solution that hurts all minors who shop there and love to come there for some minors who act out without their parents. There are solutions to this like having teenagers who act out banned from the mall. This policy can also be enacted for teenagers of a younger age who are known to be immature. There isn’t a reason normal seventeen year olds should have to walk around with someone at least twenty one years old.

I think it’s not only the brawls that you see on the news, but just young children and preteens running around the mall and acting out that caused this policy to be put in place. Of course there have been a couple of fights in the mall involving minors and adults but I also think just regular occurrences of young people acting out.

This policy affects me in many ways. It affects my ability to go to the mall with my friends and do things like buy clothes and watch movies. It also affects my ability to just go to the mall with my cousin and maybe go to a certain store to buy something specific.

The Brawls of Connecticut Malls: How did this Escalate?

Letters To The Editor

By Ashleyann Garcia Castillo
Stratford High School

The Connecticut Post Mall located in Milford, Connecticut has established a new policy that applies to everyone under the age of 18. That policy requires that anyone under the age of 18 is to be supervised by an adult 21 or older. This policy is to be fully in effect until January 1st, 2023 from 4 p.m. to the mall’s closing time. That’s not all. They also require proof of age from the youth and the adults that are there to supervise. If this policy sounds familiar, well it is because this is not the first time that this policy was used in the infamous Connecticut Post Mall.

The Connecticut Post Mall gained its infamous reputation from the ongoing surge of fights that go on between teenagers therefore being the reason behind this policy, in December of 2018 to 2019, for the first time, The Connecticut Post Mall Management announced that they were going to enforce a parental escort policy from 3 p.m. to closing time. As mentioned before, they also made it a requirement for the Adults to supervise the youth. Without adults, teens cannot enter the mall. Another brawl led to the closing of The Connecticut Post Mall at 6 p.m. on December 26, 2019 after they called for backup from the Connecticut State Police, police units from Stratford and West Haven in order to restore order on mall property.

These brawls not only take place in The Milford Mall but they also take place in Trumbull Mall. Trumbull Mall is also known for its fight clubs but they aren’t mentioned as much. Maybe it’s because they follow the only rule of Fight Club, which is to not speak about Fight Club. On September 21, 2022 in Trumbull Mall, 6 men were arrested after a fight that broke out on that Tuesday afternoon. According to the Police, The men in question went by the name Pedro Diamond (age 22), Chase Dralle (age 19), Jeremy Romero (age 23), Tremayne Ferguson (age 21), Derrick Rivera (age 18) and Isaiah Johnson (age 22). Each of them except for Rivera were charged with Breach of Peace and were held on a $500 bond. Rivera was arrested and charged with First – degree threatening, reckless endangerment, carrying a pistol with no permit, and breach of peace. Rivera was then issued an infraction for the possession of marijuana.  He was held on a much bigger bond of $10,000. Rivera was also scheduled to appear in the Bridgeport Superior Court on September 30th. As of now, I couldn’t find much information on the Court Case.

Police also mentioned that they were called to the mall shortly before 4 p.m. on that Tuesday for what was initially an armed robbery that involved a gun. Officers then learned that a group of men participated in a brawl where they attacked one man who then took out a gun and pointed it to his attackers. The police then continued by saying that all the men scattered around the area before they were to arrive. When the officers took the 6 suspects into custody as they tried to leave the premises, they said that they recovered a fanny pack that was discarded by Rivera and it contained a loaded .22 caliber pistol and a bag of marijuana.

This goes on to show that teens aren’t the issue. Even though this altercation did not happen in Milford Mall it does show how teens are not the only ones causing a ruckus in Malls.

So with all the information we touched on, I can now give my opinion on the Mall Policy. To get into the mall, now you need to show identification to show that you are not under the age. But with what we learned about Trumbull Mall we can be led to believe that it could happen in Milford as well. So age should not be a focus of concern. I think they should take a different approach in preventing these brawls or the malls would literally be known as this generation’s fight club which would attract less people and stores would lose clientele. But the question still remains, How did these fights escalate?

Mall Thoughts

Letter To The Editor

By Riley Buyskes
Stratford High School

Malls all around America have been far from safe spaces for many years now, but in the current age the danger inside of malls has skyrocketed, probably caused by social media and the rise of fighting for fame and popularity online. Most of these instances of violence in the mall are caused by teenagers, as well as other illegal activity they partake in at the mall, like shoplifting. These actions put not only the kids themselves, but everyone in the mall in danger and makes the mall no longer a family friendly, fun place to be, and for these reasons I believe that the new policy at the Connecticut post mall is fair.

I personally go to the mall quite often as do most people in Stratford, and since I can remember it’s been a very popular spot for Connecticut citizens to come to. Now however people have to hesitate when coming to their decision of going to the mall or not, because now safety is a major factor.  The actions of immature individuals in the mall has skyrocketed so much that this family friendly environment has now become a liability. This defeats the purpose of the mall being open at all, and without any proper precautions being used because of these violent instances I do not think the mall should be allowed to be open.

The measures that the Connecticut Post Mall is taking to stop these violent instances is far from overstepping, warnings have been given out to wrongdoers in this mall for years, countless times the mall has tried to come to a compromise for these teenagers, but no one followed regulations, and now it is completely justified using extreme  measures like banning youth without parental supervision because these extremes are the only things that can get through to these people.

Honestly, whether it’s fair or not shouldn’t even matter, when it comes to safety in a public setting.  Any measures should be taken to ensure that no danger is pushed upon those who are innocently trying to go about their days and utilize the mall for its actual use. Malls are not meant for goofing around, committing crimes and fighting, they are meant for shopping, and those who are not using the area properly should not be spared punishment simply because of fairness.

Employees in the mall are not there to fend off crime and violence, retail and food court workers’ jobs are not to break up fights and call security, they are simply there to tend the shops, but with the increasing violence in this mall it has become workers responsibilities, creating horrible work environments for them.

Even though this policy will affect me and my mall experiences, I still think that it is necessary because of the extremes other people my age have taken, and even though I am the same age, the fights and unsafety in the mall affects my experiences just as much as any other shopper, so I do not mind the effects the policy has on me. I have seen plenty of people from Stratford High and even people I know personally get into these unsafe situations in the mall and I believe it is for their best interest that someone stops them.