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Town Center Says Teens Still Welcome

Despite announcement to Hughes students, RTC says it is business as usual.

If you have ever visited 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 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

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."

Frank Sogandares June 04, 2011 at 05:11 PM
I don't think I would feel degraded, but my kid said the language was pretty harsh. Language like that makes me want to go out and stick it to the man, and I'm much older than a teenager, so i think a teenager would be chomping at the bit to get to RTC for some hardcore loitering.... ASAP! :) The school provides a voice of authority to an announcement that sounds like they really, really want your compliance... "or else", and they invoke the spectre of police action against middle schoolers who transgress... oh, but wait!... it's bogus... "mmmnnneeeyyyyhhh.... don't worry about it". It's a good thing this is at the end of the year, otherwise no one's gonna believe anything that comes over that PA system this year.
LifeIsGood June 06, 2011 at 01:53 PM
I would be happy if they would impose some type of curfew or other regulation on teenagers at RTC. I am there just about every Friday evening after work (I'm late 20s, so not against people having a good time). At least twice, teenagers have literally almost ran into my car because they were not paying attention while crossing the street. One time a girl was riding on the boy's back and they were playing around without a clue and had to swerve themselves at the last minute to not hit my parked car! At the Chipotle you can see car after car of parents dropping off teens, some which look younger than 13, but are dressed like they are trying to be 21. I find this sad. Going to movies and hanging out is part of being a teenager, of course, but I am refraining from going to RTC on Fridays and maybe even Saturday evenings because of the droves of teenagers.
Cynde Sears June 06, 2011 at 07:27 PM
I sense a pattern of communications to students in the Fairfax schools. Admininstrators always seem to use threatening language invoking just what you're saying -- "or else!". Don't get me started on this system's obnoxious "zero tolerance," but it certainly pervades the schools' every action. On the subject of kids at RTC, my biggest issue is that Reston has never really had anywhere else to "hang out." I feel for the kids, because I grew up in the very close-in burbs and we could walk to DC if we were looking for some excitement. Not so for these kids. We are at RTC for dinner and movies many nights, and I almost never see truly bad behavior. Typical teenaged stuff, but I don't usually see them going into stores or bothering anyone (except their peers). Maybe my glasses are rose-colored, but I can't imagine why RTC wouldn't want the cash that comes with teenagers!
Cynde Sears June 06, 2011 at 07:31 PM
I'm sorry to hear this, because I've lived near RTC since it was a massive forest (seems like long ago...) and I rarely encounter truly bad behavior. Jumping in front of cars is stupid, as is playing piggy-back near parked cars. I used to see more uniformed private cops -- they could get kids to behave with just a little, "Hey, guys. Cut that out!". Don't know what's happened to them, but their presence did make a difference. But in general, I haven't encountered behavior that's out of the norm for teens (and yes, that includes dressing in clothing that we older ladies might find offensive!).
stephen reid June 09, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Well, coming from the UK, I have to say that RTC is one of the most civilised places I've ever had the pleasure to visit!


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