Starting September 16, the Towson Town Center in Maryland will require a curfew for anyone 17 years old and younger, a measure the NAACP and other organizations call discriminatory.
“I think that they need to take a look at how to handle this in a different kind of way, other than just to say they are going to stand at the door and bar people. It’s illegal to do that,” said Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the NAACP Baltimore branch.
The mall’s general manager said the age policy was not spurred by any particular incident, and is meant to improve shoppers’ consumer experience.
Off duty police and public safety officers will check IDs at every mall entrance after 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Towson Town Center’s curfew requirements are neither unique nor new — nor have other examples been deemed discriminatory.
Mall of America, the second-largest mall in the U.S., has a Parental Escort Policy, which says that “on Friday and Saturday evenings youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older from 4 p.m. until close.”
Meant to increase safety during peak shopping seasons, mall curfews have been around for decades.
Towson has had its problems with so-called “mall brawls” in the past.
The footage below was captured on a cell phone and uploaded to YouTube in 2011:
Another “big brawl” was also filmed and uploaded in March of 2015:
A plethora of other such examples exist.
“It’s not 24 hours, it’s not all the time. It’s only those times at night when we’ve had problems with large crowds gathering at the mall,” said Councilman David Marks.
According to the CBS affiliate in Baltimore, at least three other malls in the area have placed restrictions on teen shoppers.