Fayetteville movie sets parent chaperone rule for under-17s

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Tinseltown Theater at the request of the Fayetteville Police Department will impose a “parent escort” policy after 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays beginning May 20.

Police department spokesman Mike Whitlow said the policy is in response to several incidents at the theater involving large groups of juveniles and an increase in associated criminal activities.

Police Chief Scott Pitts proposed the policy and (Tinseltown parent company) Cinemark has agreed to help police combat the increased numbers of unescorted juveniles and the accompanying issues, Whitlow said.

Whitlow said the policy represents a proactive move by the police department in conjunction with Tinseltown Theater.

According to the policy, “On all Fridays and Saturdays, all children and teens under 18 years of age who are at the Tinseltown Theater after 6 p.m. must be under the supervision and control of a parent or guardian (21 years or older), who must have visual contact with the child or teen. A parent or guardian may not escort more than six children or teens under the age of 18.

“After 6 p.m., unaccompanied children and teens under the age of 18 who are currently watching a movie will need to be picked up by or fall under the supervision of a parent or guardian (21 years of age or older). Youths under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (21 years or older) to attend films starting after 6 p.m.”

Whitlow said police took the action to prevent a duplication of an incident that occurred two weeks ago when a fight broke out between two juveniles but resulted in approximately 100 spectators looking on.

“Ninety-nine percent of juveniles are there to watch a movie,” Whitlow said. “The issues arise when they are waiting for parents to pick them up after the movie. The idea is to cut down on the potential for safety issues and criminal activity.”

Whitlow said there have been a few occasions where other fights broke out between two juveniles and there have been several occasions over the past couple of years where a group of 5 to 20 juveniles would move as a group through portions of the Fayette Pavilion. There were two occasions where their presence was disruptive to businesses, Whitlow said.