SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The ACLU is criticizing Arden Fair Mall’s decision to ban teens who didn’t have adults with them on the day after Christmas.
The mall issued the ban in order to prevent fights from breaking out, according to a statement from the mall.
But an ACLU attorney claims the mall violated teens’ civil rights by banning those not accompanied by adults from shopping at the mall.
CBS13 spoke to Constitutional attorney Jeffrey Kravitz.
“Technically [a mall] is absolutely a private place,” said constitutional attorney Jeffrey Kravitz. “It is owned by a private corporation.”
However, Kravitz says, in California, the courts have ruled malls can be viewed as public places.
“In California, because of a case that’s called Pruneyard — that happened to be the name of the mall — you do have free speech rights in malls, which are similar, but not exactly as those that exist in public streets,” Kravitz said.
Kravitz says no lawsuits have been filed by the teens.
“Because what are the damages to the person?” Kravitz said. “I couldn’t go to the mall that day?”
A dozen brawls broke out at malls across the country on December 26th. Police say the disturbances may be loosely organized on social media.
This season, Arden Fair Mall changed its policy to ban unaccompanied teenagers from the day to prevent fights, kicking them out for the day.
“It’s a fascinating issue,” Kravitz said.
Now there’s a legal debate to determine the constitutionality of action.
The mall hasn’t indicated when they might put this policy into effect again. Kravitz says there are some laws that ban adults from playgrounds unless they are accompanied by children. He says both issues may eventually wind up in California courts.