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Malls Take Action to Curb Troublemaking Teenagers

Some malls across the country have taken to enforcing bans on unaccompanied minors to quell potential trouble, but in California the bans are raising issues of civil libertiies.
January 26, 2017, 5am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Walter Lim

During the day-after-Christmas shopping rush, Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento instituted a ban on unaccompanied minors inside the mall in an effort to head-off potential trouble caused by unaccompanied teenagers. Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times reports that bans against unaccompanied minors have popped up around the country in response to fights or brawls sparked by social media postings. In California, the ban imposed at Arden Fair has gained the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Winton writes that Michael T. Risher, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Northern California chapter, has cited the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination by businesses against a specific group. This would include children. However, Arden Fair mall owners believe that teenagers are not a protected class covered under the Unruh law. The ban has also gained the attention of the Sacramento city attorney who has been asked to review the legality of the ban following resident complaints to the City Council that the ban was singling out minority teenagers.

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Published on Sunday, January 15, 2017 in Los Angeles Times
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