New Jersey is cracking down on “mall”-adjusted teens.
Garden State Plaza Mall will require patrons under 18 to be accompanied by a chaperone who is 21 or older on weekend nights in response to a spate of TikTok-fueled mayhem.
The policy will begin on April 28 and will be in effect after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, according to mall officials who said the aim was to stomp out unruly behavior.
“We’ve seen an increase in large crowds of teens, essentially juveniles. … The teens aren’t just enjoying the property in shopping, dining and entertainment,” Wesley Rebisz, senior general manager at Garden State Plaza, told NorthJersey.com.
“They’re being unruly, violating code of conduct, which can include running through the property in large groups, fighting and putting it on TikTok, basically disrupting business and making it uncomfortable for our everyday customers.”
Police and security guards will be stationed at the entrance of the mall to check IDs and anyone who refuses will reportedly be asked to leave, mall officials said.
“In the event something does try to begin to escalate a little bit, we have a police officer right there on top of it to de-escalate,” said Dan Cenedy, senior vice president of security operation at Garden State Plaza Mall’s parent company, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
Reactions to the new policy have been mixed.
“As a teacher, I feel like students need to, I mean, students, kids, everybody needs to be supervised,” shopper Jasmine Mark told CBS News. “I think that when they’re here by themselves, they usually get in trouble, so I think that they should come with a parent.”
Others scoffed at the new rule.
“Kids should deserve that freedom, you know what I mean?” shopper Ali Brightwell said. “I don’t think they need a chaperone,”
“I can see why they did it, but I mean, I don’t think it’s like really that … They shouldn’t enforce it,” Brightwell added.
Garden State Plaza, the second-largest mall in New Jersey, is not the first shopping center to place restrictions on unaccompanied minors.
A complex in Columbia, Maryland, instituted a similar policy last month citing disruption from teens, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Malls in Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have also done the same.