Back-to-back weekends of violence erupting among groups of St. Louis juveniles meeting up to fight at high-profile attractions are prompting police pressure on parents to keep their teenagers in line or face consequences themselves, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Reports of fights involving teenage “fight teams” on the St. Louis Zoo grounds forced an early closing March 15. Twenty minutes later, two teens were arrested for fighting near a MetroLink station, after one person briefly wound up on the tracks. Then, on Saturday night, 20 to 30 juveniles and young adults clashed briefly with protesters; several shots were fired in the Delmar Loop.
Police have arrested about 15 juveniles connected to the violence of the past two weekends, said Lt. Janice Bockstruck, commander of the city's juvenile division. “These are young kids getting together in a group and taking disputes — sometimes girl fights or normal everyday school disagreements — and exploding it over social media to the point where it escalates and they end up meeting and fighting,” she said. Bockstruck is sending detectives to the homes of teens who have been arrested to make parents aware of services that could address problems in the family and to put those parents on notice: If your child is arrested again, you will receive a summons for contributing to the delinquency of a minor by allowing them to engage in behavior that is harmful to their health and welfare.