It was once a rite of passage for many teens, hanging out at the mall, but that may soon become a thing of the past.Tri-County Mall is the latest to restrict teens' access during certain hours.
Starting Aug. 6, teens younger than 18 will have to be escorted by someone over the age of 21 after 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.The idea wasn't sitting well with teenagers and some parents who are just learning of the new rules."That's not gonna be fair," said 17-year-old Elise Hargis. "I'm not gonna have time to go to the mall. My mom can't always go and that's the only time I have to go. Saturdays I work during the day. Sunday I work.
""That's not right," said shopper Barbara Phillips. "How can you stop somebody from going to stores spending money regardless of what age they are?"But mall officials said they believe congregating teens can make some shoppers uncomfortable."You're not as comfortable with youth right there at the main entrance, standing side by side, hanging out, not doing anything serious, just being loud and being youth," said Mike Lyons, general manager of Tri-County Mall.And some shoppers agree.
"I mean, I teach high school, so I know there are really good teenagers out there," said Richele Nold. "I know there are other kids who get in a group and just misbehave.""I guess it's just a management choice, and if they decided to do that they''ll have to deal with the consequences of it," Nold added.Tri-County said it has hired 18 additional part-time security officers who will be stationed at 10 different mall entrances to check identification.
If you're not 18 and without an adult, you'll have to leave the mall on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. until closing.Newport on the Levee and Dayton Mall have similar youth escort policies.