Arrested! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Not long ago in Framingham, a group of kids got arrested. We were what adults called "mall rats." We spent our summer of '89 and our money at Shopper's World in Framingham. Our fun suddenly turned into "hanging out" trouble. We became a group of kids who "threw water at each other, put gerbil food in fish tanks, and sudsed up the water fountain," according to store managers and local newspapers.

We began getting arrested as a part of their "mall rat crackdown." While sitting down on a bench at the mall, a police officer approached us and said, "Move." I got up to move and I turned around and saw my friend handcuffed. He was led down to the police department, finger printed, booked, photographed, and put in a holding cell! That happened to four kids, two of them twice.

The newspaper took it as a chance to "kill the kids"! They put us down and didn't offer us a chance. So we protested and boycotted, and got our way. A reporter came to the mall for two hours just to "turn our words around." He called 14-year-olds "a bunch of bratty kids who smoke, waste money, swear, cause trouble, scream, and chew gum 24 hours a day."

One mom decided to sue, because her son was discriminated against, abused, and traumatized, and she won. But the others who went to court also lost because they cannot show their faces at the mall until they are 18.

To me (a "mall rat") seeing my friends arrested hurts. The newspaper still write about us two months later.

By writing this I hope to tell people how it feels to be arrested and have your town kick you out. I also hope it shows that when something fun starts getting shaky, stop, before it goes too far. Because our fun turned against us - we cannot go to our town mall until we are 18. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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