Water Tower Place imposes new parental supervision rules for teens

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Water Tower Place announced new rules Thursday that will require teenagers to be accompanied by adults while at the mall on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The "Parental Guidance Required" program, which starts on Friday, will require anyone age 17 and under to be accompanied by a "parent or supervising adult who is at least 21 years old" after 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, according to a statement from Water Tower Place's parent company, Brookfield Properties.

"In an effort to eliminate disruptive behavior by unsupervised youth, we made the difficult decision to implement a curfew program at Water Tower Place," Senior General Manager Mitch Feldman said in the statement. "The PGR program is intended to help provide a safe, peaceful experience at our shopping center."

During the program's hours, "trained public safety officers will be stationed at all Water Tower Place entrances to check IDs of visitors who appear to be 17 years old or younger," mall officials wrote in the statement. One adult will be allowed to accompany up to four teenagers, although there will be no limit on the number of children 10 and under that can be accompanied by a single adult.

Adults who show their IDs at the entrance will be offered an "optional wristband," but those who don't wear it "may be asked for ID again by safety officers inside the shopping center," officials said.

The new policy comes on the same day that a 15-year-old boy was arrested and charged with several felonies connected to an attack on three people at a Red Line station on the Near North Side. The teens allegedly involved in that incident had caused a disturbance at Water Tower Place prior to the attack.

The new rules got mixed reactions from parents.

"I'd rather them be able to come here by themselves," said Water Tower Place shopper Jeanette Maggiore-Anet.

Freddie Steen, father of 16-year-old Samarra Steen, called the new security plan "discriminatory."

"Michigan Avenue is second to none, but if there's going to be a discriminator practice toward teens, I'm going to think twice about shopping here," he said.

Daughter Samarra said she thought it was unfair to hold her entire generation accountable for the actions of a few.

"Just because one person is doing something shouldn't let everyone else be punished," she said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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