Cinemark enforcing evening policy for children under 17

Cinemark enforcing evening policy for children under 17
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Simon Property Group)
(Source: Simon Property Group)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They are old enough to drive, even work at the mall, but teens under the age of 17 can't be there in a group.

Now if those minors want to catch a movie after six, they have to have an adult with them.

The policies are sparking mixed reviews. One teen 7News  spoke with thinks the policies are outrageous, while a parent agrees with some of the rules.

When teenager Kaitlyn Macnamara's mom told her about a letter reinforcing Prien Lake Mall's code of conduct, Kaitlyn wasn't thrilled.

"17 or younger not being able to be at the mall past six... I think that's ridiculous," she said.

According to mall officials anyone 17 and under who comes to the mall in a group of three or more has to have an adult with them---something Kaitlyn doesn't understand.

"Once you're 16 you can drive, you can have your own car," she said. "You can get a license, you can bring yourself to the mall so why after six should I have to have my mom with me?"

Prien Lake Mall says a group under the age of 17 will be stopped by security and reminded about the policy. If an adult can't be with them they'll be taken to what the mall calls its "VIP section" where security will wait with them until a parent arrives.

A spokesperson for the mall sent 7News this statement:

"Families, teens, and children are always welcome to shop, dine, and enjoy Prien Lake Mall. We do, however, remind our shoppers that we have a strictly-enforced code of conduct in place. If the code of conduct is broken by a child, we will contact parents to pick them up. If the individual is an adult, they will be asked to leave. The code of conduct is posted at all mall entrances."

Vikki Clark, who has kids of her own, agrees with the rules.

"They're running around and disturbing everyone, and also the people that work here have to worry about if they're going to take something or pull pranks on each other," said Clark.

The mall's policy is not new, but a similar policy at the Cinemark theater is.

An employee at the theater told 7News children under the age of 17 can't see movies after 6:00 p.m. unless a parent's with them. That rule, Clark disagrees with.

"Kids under 18 really don't have very much to do, so we all grew up going to the show during the week and on the weekends," she said. "That was your outing."

Kaitlyn understands why these policies are in place, but wishes the ages and times would change. She also wonders how these rules will be enforced.

"My older sister looks like she's a freshman in high school, and not a freshman in college so I know that that would really annoy her if she's getting carded to walk around the mall," she said. "Like it's not a club."

She hopes those in charge will reconsider these policies.

"I think you're just considering one issue as a problem, and this is the solution to that one issue, but I think this is a bad solution," she said.

7News reached out to Cinemark's corporate office about the policy changes but has not heard back.

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