Many Central Students Affected by New Hamilton Place Mall Youth Escort Policy

HAMILTON PLACE MALL UPDATES YOUTH ESCORT POLICY -- The entrance to Hamilton Place Mall is depicted above.

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HAMILTON PLACE MALL UPDATES YOUTH ESCORT POLICY — The entrance to Hamilton Place Mall is depicted above.

DayOnna Carson, Staff Writer

Last Friday, February 3, Hamilton Place Mall’s updated Youth Escort Policy took effect. Rules regarding the younger population of consumers have been in place at this particular mall since 2001, but recent escapades have urged officials to revise these guidelines. Now, shoppers aged 17 and under are required to have a parent or guardian, who are over age 21, with them at all times after 4 o’clock p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. These changes will effect the majority of students here at Central along with their social plans.

“It’s kind of upsetting that we can’t enjoy our time at the mall by ourselves,” admitted senior Miranda Lillard.

After the shooting that occurred in Hamilton Place Mall’s parking lot on Black Friday, and the bout of fireworks that a group of individuals set off in December, government officials and citizens alike advocated for a safer and more organized atmosphere at the establishment. Several people were injured during both incidents, and there were many customers that got trampled as crowds frantically tried to escape. Mall administrators hoped to reduce the amount of chaos among pedestrians in the case of an emergency.

“I feel like the policy doesn’t make much of a difference because it’s just two days of the week, and anyone can go at anytime to make trouble. Bringing a guardian with you for a few hours won’t change anything in my opinion,” stated freshman Cassandra Castillo.

The new policy may be an inconvenience to teenage shoppers who are known to stroll around the mall, especially since the rules apply to the weekend, which is when students have time off from school. Anyone who is still at the mall, unsupervised, after 4:00 p.m. will be asked to leave. This also might scare away younger customers that do not want to deal with the new rules at all.

“I visit the mall often to go and hang out with my friends, and we don’t want our parents to be forced to follow us around the stores the whole time,” explained freshman Khalia Shepherd. “What are we supposed to do if we want to surprise our parents with a gift during the holidays?”

Most students agree that they would feel safer under adult supervision. Students who are not of driving age will not be too affected by the Youth Escort Policy since they typically shop with the parent or guardian who brought them to the mall. However, others believe that older students with the privilege to drive would lose some of their freedom under the new regulations.

“If the new rules applied to people who are 15 and under, then the changes would be understandable, but, if you’re 16 years old, and have your own car, you should be able to shop by yourself,” argued freshman Marla McCarey.

Mall officials can also put the policy into effect any other days they deem it necessary and will have security escort anyone out of Hamilton Place who fails to comply with the rules, or show proper identification. On the flip side, teenagers that work at one of the stores are exempt from the regulation, as long as they are doing their job. It takes time for everyone to agree with new policies, but being safe should be everyone’s top priority.