Businesses have right to ban unsupervised kids

The Town Talk reported this week that Alexandria Mall officials are enforcing a new rule that any youth under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult from 5 p.m. until close on Friday and Saturday nights. Mall General Manager John Benton was quoted as saying the number of unaccompanied youth had become such a problem, customers and merchants expressed concerns. In fact, the majority of store owners in the mall backed the rule. Mall security will be checking IDs such as driver’s licenses, military IDs and passports as part of enforcement.

We’ve all seen signs at certain businesses that read “Parents will be responsible for damages caused by children” or “No children beyond this point.” Did you know that even certain Jeff Davis Parish establishments have had to introduce rules regarding unsupervised children?

Just last year, in her monthly Librarian’s Lines column in the Jennings Daily News, Jeff Davis Library Director Dr. Linda Lebert-Corbello addressed the issue of parents dropping off children and young teens at the library for hours at a time with no supervision.

Also, in a recent interview for the Jennings Daily News’, a local business owner noted, “We are not licensed to be a daycare center. All children must be supervised by a parent or guardian (to enter the business) – not a sibling.”

It’s understandable why businesses and even public libraries have to say out loud what most of us already know: You have to take care of your own kids.

Any parent that drops a child below a certain age at a public place and drives off without ensuring the child is looked after should be ashamed of their carelessness and laziness. It is not a business owner, mall employee or librarian who is responsible for your child’s welfare; if a parent needs a babysitter, they should pay one.

Not only is it completely disrespectful to the business community to dump a child at their door, but do these parents realize what could happen to their children? How hard would it be for a sex offender to notice an 11 year-old has been sitting in the library alone for two hours? Would most parents truly trust letting a 13 year-old roam through a mall in a large city without any adult supervision at 9 p.m. at night?

Furthermore, how many youths act completely different around strangers than their parents? Is a teenager going to behave like a respectful shopper or cause problems for the store if no one is around?

Businesses should not have to act as daycare centers (unless, of course, the business is a daycare center). Furthermore, businesses should not be worried that if something happens to an unsupervised child, they could be blamed for the situation.

There are many factors to consider but no matter the reasoning, parents need to handle their own children, not force businesses to baby sit. Businesses who encounter this situation are justified in putting a foot down.

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Posted by on May 10 2013. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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