Local Teens Struggle to Keep Out of Trouble
December 16, 2013
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It’s a Saturday night and that means another evening of struggling to come up with activities to occupy time. Of course the first thing to come to mind is venturing to the Loop. However, the Delmar Loop, typically viewed as an animated destination for boisterous nightlife, is completely out of the question for a U. City student, at least after 9 p.m.
As of April 2012, a curfew was put into place that forbid those 16 and under from being in the loop after 9 p.m. This curfew was made to discourage the large groups of kids that congregate there and additionally to reduce crime in the area.
One flaw of that rule: where are the teens going to go?
There aren’t many parents who are willing to host a teen scene at their house every weekend and consequently teenagers are left to find their own fun. The most accessible mall, the Galleria, also has a curfew which is heavily enforced. Other than that, there are the movies or bowling, which tend to cost more than the average teenager’s budget and get repetitive and boring pretty quick.
“I feel like there really is nothing to do in U. City,” said senior Addy Adewale. “There are really only three places to go — the Riverfront, Loop, and Galleria Mall — but we [teenagers] aren’t allowed there anymore.”Even though the Riverfront is downtown, students said it was one of their favorite weekend hangouts.
This lack of an area for teenagers poses a problem for many students and is a popular topic among teens in the general St. Louis area.
“Since there are fewer activities for teens to entertain themselves with, they have to create their own methods of entertainment,” says sophomore Kara Richardson. “This often can tie into drug and alcohol abuse.”
Although it is quite the topic of interest, none of the students seem to really know what to do. Many students just continue to go to the Loop or the mall until they get kicked out. Junior Malik Johnson, however, has a different plan. As a member of the University City Youth Commission, a group of local teens that work with the city council and mayor, Johnson has proposed that a teen hangout place be created.
“Teens have absolutely no place to go and have fun,” says Johnson. “If teens had a place to go, it would probably reduce crime as well. Since teens have nothing to do, they go out and find trouble. If teens had a safe hangout place where they could chill, the streets would be freer of crime.”
The idea of the safe hangout location for teenagers is still being deliberated by the rest of the commission but Johnson says it is likely to be approved.
“A teen hangout place would be awesome, as long as people used it for its intended purpose,” said sophomore Diamon Edwards. “I think a lot of teens would really appreciate a safe place to chill without the fear of being harassed.”
If such a place as the teen hangout suggested by Johnson were to be enacted, it would be very beneficial for local young adults. The main issue for making the hangout possible is funding. If funding could be provided by the city, or other investors, the problem would be solved. If funding is not possible, an alternative could be dropping the curfew at the Galleria entirely. Either way, teens would have a place to go without the stress of being kicked out or unreasonably getting into trouble.