Let’s face it … teenagers don’t really have a lot of options when it comes to entertaining themselves. Used to be they could gather at a “malt shop” a bowling alley or a “teen club” but these places no longer exist or are too costly for the average teen to enjoy with any frequency. In my hometown the teens with cars would gather in the parking lot at the Plaza. It was a small shopping center with a large parking lot where the kids would gather just for the sake of gathering. They weren’t necessarily supervised but local law enforcement was always on duty to prevent criminal activity. It was a public space, after all.
Of course, large groups of teens can be intimidating to some. The Plaza gatherings would sometimes get so large that they would cause traffic congestion, be loud or noisy and, occasionally, the inconsiderate members of the group would leave litter. But if laws were broken, arrests were made. And when the kids were asked to leave, they generally complied.
Our local mall recently introduced a Youth Escort Policy. People under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed in the mall after 6:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays unless they are “accompanied by a parent or guardian 21 years of age or older”. Unbeknownst to me, laws of this nature have existed around the country for some time. And those who live in communities and shop at malls where these curfews have been implemented are overwhelmingly in favor of them and praise their success. But are these laws fair?
To me, it seems that this is an example of a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch. Of course, there are many valid reasons to prevent “gang activity” and, perhaps, monitoring large groups of teenagers is a good idea, but I believe the teens' actions and behaviors should be scrutinized before their mere presence is questioned. Certainly, teenagers are capable of gathering without causing problems for their communities. If they break a law ... arrest them. Otherwise, leave them alone.
What do you think? Should groups of teenagers be banned even if they're not causing any problems?
Copyright © 2012 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com