Gastonia mall considers banning teens without adult supervision

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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GASTONIA, N.C. —

It was a quiet morning at Eastridge Mall on Tuesday.  A Channel 9 crew found people having lunch, shopping and exercising.

General Manager Christina Bremner said increasingly teenagers are using the popular hangout to act out.

"There's a lot of running, yelling, small fights breaking out," Bremner said. "Large groups that make it uncomfortable for some of our other customers to be around."

Teens caught being disruptive are warned and on the second warning they are asked to leave.

Channel 9 talked to a few customers Tuesday who spoke about some of the bad behavior they've witnessed.

"They just arguing, people running around acting crazy, fights, a lot of different stuff," Miesha Bridges said.

"Makes you not want to come back to the mall and this is the only place we have is the mall," shopper Rosalind Gilliam said.

Mall management said most of the problems are happening on Fridays and Saturdays when the mall is busiest. Last weekend management started handing out warning flyers to young people, asking them to share the warning on their social media pages.

The flyer is also posted on the mall's Facebook page.  It includes a few basic rules be nice, no running, no yelling or cursing and no stealing.

Bremner said for the next few days they are giving the teens a chance to prove they can follow the rules. If they can't, starting April 11 anyone under 18 will not be allowed in the mall day or night without an adult who is 21 or older.

"We think the mall is a great place for teenagers to come to," Bremner said. "We want having them here we just want them to behave that's all."

A new security company took over at the mall on March 1. Management said that change was already in the works and was not prompted by the teen's behavior.