Teen and Young Adult Discrimination

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Following is a copy of a letter I wrote to the Gardens Mall (Palm Beach Gardens, Fl ) 6/12. If you or your teen has experienced this type of discrimination either at this mall or elsewhere, please sign and add your own comments or experiences. I have tried and succeeded to instill a basic sense of decency and morals in my child as most of you have. Our teens today are no different than we were growing up. Each generation tries to find a way to express their individuality whether it be a piercing, a tattoo, a hairstyle or style of clothing. Our base concern is that they are good kids and respect society and become the responsible adults we hope them to be. I am told that mall secuity is to enforce "inappropriate behavior". With that being said, I feel there should be some additonal clarification. Are there signs posted that say: DO NOT STAND HERE WITH YOUR ARM AROUND YOUR GIRLFRIEND DO NOT KISS YOUR GIRLFRIEND PIERCINGS FORBIDDEN (WE DON'T LIKE YOUR TYPE) TATOOS FORBIDDEN IF YOU LOOK DIFFERENT THAN US, YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE I have been so offended by this that I needed to see how many others have been subjected to this kind of ignorance. Following is the letter: My sixteen year old son usually spends Friday nights at the Gardens Mall with his girlfriend. This Friday, he experienced discrimination and ageism 1st hand. He and his friends were standing outside one of the stores waiting for another friend to complete a purchase when one of the mall security guards came up and told them , "You can't stand here. You need to leave" My son asked what they had done. They were told, "We don't want your kind here! We're going to remember your faces, and You will not be allowed back". They were escorted out of the mall and followed to the car. My son called me on his way home to tell me what had happened. Apparently the one and only offense was while standing near the escalator, his arm around his girlfriend, he gave her several kisses. If that had been my husband and I, do you think they would have asked me to leave? And heaven knows, my husband has kissed me in public on several occasions. Would they have said the same things to us? I think not. Every time my son meets his girlfriend at the mall, he does not go with empty pockets. We always make sure he has money to spend therefore supporting the merchants in Gardens Mall as thousands of other kids do. My son and his friends were stereotyped and apparently thought to be a "bad unwanted element". In reality, he is a very good student, attends church and youth group, is "straight edge", meaning he is against drugs, drinking and promiscuous sex. His obvious sin was having a pierced lip. Yes, folks. That must have been the give-a-way. I’m not a fan of piercing but I would gladly let him pierce a lip rather than have a child doing drugs, stealing or mixed up with a bad group. We've warned him about how people can stereotype without really thinking before they make a stupid and judgmental decision about someone. Thank you Gardens Mall Secuity for a great lesson in ignorance, & discrimination. Thank you for signing. Renee Savarese

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