Disruptive, unruly teens impact local businesses

Disruptive, unruly teens impact local businesses

Joseph Manivong, Staff Writer

When school isn’t in session, high school students often hang out — conversing, joking, laughing and generally having a good time. When several high schoolers get together, however, the group can get noisy and become a disturbance. Local businesses, particularly those located within Park West Place on Trinity Parkway, have experienced such disruptive gatherings that some have even acted to prevent them.

“Sometimes, they come in groups and knock over products, like paper towels and toilet paper and such,” Target Team Lead Susie Ludwick said about groups of teenagers. “Sometimes, we do have to tell them that they have to go.”

Teenagers aren’t always aware of the disturbance they cause to businesses, while businesses typically aren’t aware that teenagers can be ignorant of how their behavior affects other customers.

“I think it’s convenient for them because it’s close, and I think it’s also a little showing off for their friends,” Ludwick said.

The teenagers who congregate also don’t realize that being in the store is a privilege, not a right and that Target — or any business — could refuse them entry at any time.

Other stores, such as the Weberstown Mall, have implemented such policies in response to a major incident in Decem- ber involving mostly unruly teenagers.

On December 26, a relatively small fight between

a couple of teenagers in the Weberstown Mall parking lot grew into a brawl involving 150 to 200 teenagers. The fight continued and eventually moved into the Sherwood Mall parking lot.

After police gained control over the situation, the two malls were shut down for the rest of the night. The following day, Weberstown issued a new policy regarding minors’ entry into the shopping mall. For the duration of the day after the brawl, anyone under the age of 18 visiting the mall had to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian 21 years of age or older in order to prevent any future disturbances from occurring.

ILLUSTRATION BY AMARA DEL PRATO

Senior Jeremiah Isanan attempted to shop at the mall with his girlfriend that day and was turned away at the door.

“It was kind of annoying because I had to go home right after getting there,” Isanan said. “I didn’t think they would actually check IDs.”

The policy had at press time been repealed, and minors are now able to visit the mall without supervision.