Shopping malls across the United States are growing increasingly intolerant of loitering teenagers, reports the Christian Science Monitor. In an attempt to cut back on rowdy behavior and loitering that many establishments say has become unbearable in recent years, malls are implementing policies that require teens to be accompanied by adults after certain hours, effectively putting an end to a weekend routine long memorialized in classic flicks like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Mallrats.” The latest example is Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Mass., where as of Sept. 6 teens under 16 will not be able to cruise the mall without adult supervision in the evenings. It joins a growing number of US malls enforcing such guidelines, from Chambersburg, Pa., to Chattanooga, Tenn., according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Mall managers say packs of teens deter families from choosing the mall as their Friday night outing. Many complain they have become de facto baby sitters. And some invoke a moral principle: Parents, they say, no matter how frazzled and frenzied, should not be dropping off their kids unsupervised in such an unstructured setting for so long. But some kids and parents are challenging the new policies. In Chicopee, Mass., 15-year-old Mike Lemme, who says he hangs out with his friends every few weeks at the Holyoke Mall, started an online petition that has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.