Town Center Says Teens Still Welcome
Despite announcement to Hughes students, RTC says it is business as usual.
If you have ever visited Reston Town Center on a weekend night, you know it is crowded with middle- and high-school students eating, seeing movies, window shopping and just hanging out.
For a while on Friday, students at Langston Hughes Middle School thought their days of doing just that were over.
An announcement was made on the school public address system from school security that said teens would no longer be welcome at the Reston Town Center without an adult.
The students were told they would "not be permitted to stand in the street or around the fountain at anytime for any reason without a parent directly next to them."
Students were told their "presence would no longer be tolerated at RTC," and the new rules will be strictly enforced by security and and the police.
Say what? Is that all day or only at night? Just weekends or all the time? Do they have to leave by 5 p.m.? 9 p.m.? 11 p.m.?
The announcement was not made at other area middle schools or at South Lakes High School.
Turns out it was erroneous information, says Marion Myers, spokeswoman for Reston Town Center.
"The policy at RTC has not been changed," she said Friday. "The rules and regulations are posted online, throughout the property and available at the Information Center. As long as visitors to the property are abiding by these rules and regulations they are welcome at RTC.
"We are in the process of tracking down the origin of this message as it did NOT come from RTC management."
Reston Town Center's code of conduct can be accessed here.
Mall curfews have been a trend nationwide the last few years as mall management has looked for ways to keep shoppers happy in the economic downturn. A 2010 story in Retail Traffic, a retail industry publication, quotes a mall manager saying people were scared by large numbers of teens in the building.
Lt. Thomas Rogers, spokesman for the Fairfax County Police Reston District Station, said the annoucement at Hughes was premature.
Law enforcement officials recently discussed rowdy teens at the town center, but no decisions had been made, Rogers said. Rogers said police were called to the town center twice on a recent Friday night for "a little series of teenage fights."
What RTC security and police have agreed on was an increased police presence - two additional off-duty officers have been hired for weekends - and a reminder about the rules of RTC, said Rogers.
"Additional police presence would solve 90 percent of the problem," said Rogers. "If kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing, we are not going to intervene. We only get involved if they are breaking the law."