Shoppers React to New Underage Teen Policy at Garden State Plaza

Due to recent unruly behavior, teens under the age of 18 now have to bring a chaperone on weekend nights—or leave the mall.

Garden State Plaza in Paramus
A new policy at Garden State Plaza in Paramus cracks down on underage shoppers on weekend evenings. Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In a bid to tamp down on the growing problem of teens gone wild, Garden State Plaza in Paramus is cracking down on underage shoppers on weekend evenings, requiring them to bring a chaperone who is at least 21 with them—or leave.

The new policy, which recently went into effect, came after mall officials started seeing large crowds of teens roaming the mall, with fights sometimes breaking out. It appears some of the mayhem was fueled by a desire to post the incidents on TikTok.

Some young shoppers at the mall actually thought the new policy was a good idea.

Mikita Thompson of Paterson, 19, says she agrees with the new policy.

“I grew up going to this mall and I understand how popular it is. I think the new plan is smart because it will calm things down. Things can get really hectic here, so I think it’s a good way to contain the situation,” she says. “When I was kid coming here, it was fun, but when I come now, it’s just a swamp of kids. It’s a lot. There shouldn’t be hundreds of kids roaming the mall.”

Mall officials said the teens were running through the mall in large groups, fighting and disrupting business, making it uncomfortable for shoppers.

But Ciarra Sanchez, 17, of Ridgefield Park, disagreed with the new policy.

“I think it’s stupid. I’m not immature and I shouldn’t be stopped from coming here,” she says. “It’s the kids who are 13 and 14 who need control—not the 17-year-olds like me.”

The policy goes into effect starting at 5 pm on Friday and Saturdays, and security guards will be at every entrance, carding anyone who looks underage.

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