New Jersey Mall Requires Adult Chaperones For Teens On Weekends

A New Jersey mall reinstituted an old policy Friday requiring adult chaperones to accompany all minors, parent or guardian aged 25 or older from Friday to Sunday evenings.

Not only will parents or guardians have to be at the mall with their kids, but the adults will also be held responsible for their minors’ actions — according to the reinstated “Parental Escort Policy” at Deptford Mall, which will require children and teens under the age of 18 to be supervised by an adult during weekends.

“We’re committed to providing an enjoyable experience for all our guests. We reserve the right to limit groups larger than four persons [and] anyone under the age of 18 from 5 p.m. on Friday through Sunday when not accompanied by an adult age 25 or older,” said the Deptford Township Police Department in an announcement backing the new mall policy.

Gangs of kids running wild in the mall led to the reinstatement of the mall policy. Police say they are serious about checking chaperones’ proof of age.

“They’re coming in groups,” Tina Castelli, a Deptford Mall employee and resident of Deptford, told NBC10 Philadelphia in an interview. “They’re either fighting with each other or they’re just vandalizing. Like they’re running wild and they’re making parents scared. Elderly people are scared. Young kids are scared they’re going to be jumped by these kids.”

Fox reported: “Last year, one of New Jersey’s biggest shopping malls began requiring shoppers under the age of 18 to be accompanied by an adult on weekend nights amid an increase in disruptive behavior [ … ] The Deptford Mall joins several other businesses across the country cracking down on minors being inside their establishments without proper adult supervision.”

Some parents and youngsters complained to NBC10 about the policies on Tuesday, saying they did not know about the rules and that the mall does not consistently enforce them. “I feel like it’s not fair,” Mekenzie Strand, 24, of Hammonton, New Jersey. “If they’re causing issues and stuff, then I think it’s not okay. But if they’re not, then it’s fine. They’re kids. They’re having fun.”