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MOA enforces more stringent parental escort policy

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The Mall of America has been turning unaccompanied teens away this week on its busiest week of the year. Over the last couple of years the mall has refined and expanded its Parental Escort Policy.

The mega mall has long had a policy of not allowing unaccompanied teens 16 or younger on Friday and Saturday evenings. But it has expanded the policy following a melee that occurred there just over two years ago.

It was Dec. 26, 2011, 10 juveniles and young adults were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct after a crowd of almost 200 young people sent some frightened shoppers scrambling for safety and forced some stores to close early.

The disturbance began around 4:20 p.m. as a single fight involving a large group in the food court spilled through the mall. Mall officials say the disturbance took over an hour to get under control.

The 2011 disturbance is still thought to be the worst instance of violence to hit the mall. Earlier that day, rumors spread through social media that rap stars Lil Wayne and Drake were going to perform at the mall. While the rumors turned out to be untrue it attracted crowds of teenagers and young adults.

The mall responded last year by beefing up patrols while Bloomington police posted additional officers inside and outside of the building to enforce the expanded policy from 4 p.m. until close.

Security at the Mall of America has been back in the news this week. On Thursday, former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew was assaulted after pursuing a thief who took off with his iPhone.

18-year-old, Letaija Shapree Cutler-Cain is facing charges of first-degree-aggravated robbery and one count of second-degree assault, from the incident. Charges against another 17-year-old girl are expected on Monday.

This year, the mall has expanded that policy further. The policy was in force all day on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, according to the MOA's website. It is also in place virtually the entire week between Christmas and New Years.

The mall says one adult may supervise up to 10 youth.

Also those younger than 21 should be prepared to show a Mall of America employee identification card, United States Driver's License, a U.S. State-issued I.D., Resident Alien Card, Passport, United State Military I.D., Mexican Consulate I.D. or a Canadian I.D.

MOA says no form of college or high school I.D. will be accepted.

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