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Skateland Indy bans juvenile drop-offs following weekend disturbance

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 22, 2015) - Managers at Skateland Indy say they will no longer allow juveniles to be dropped off unsupervised at any time.

The move comes after police had to disperse about 100 teens who were not allowed to enter the west side skating rink because of overcrowding issues. Police and Skateland managers say the large crowd resulted from a social media post advertising a lock-in party at the facility which wasn’t really happening.

“They advertised our public session, which is a family session,” said Skateland Indy General Manager Sean Hart. “We had 12 birthday parties scheduled.”

This social media ad is blamed for attracting hundreds of teens to Skateland Indy Saturday night.

This social media ad is blamed for attracting hundreds of teens to Skateland Indy Saturday night.

Hart said his building reached capacity around 7 p.m. When the rink closed at 9 p.m., about 100 teens were still waiting outside. Police were called to disperse the crowd and the teens started moving to different parking lots in the area of 38th Street and High School road. Some fighting between two groups began to break out, one police car windshield was damaged by a thrown rock, and one police pepper ball was fired. At one point, police blocked traffic to allow the teens to move out of the area.

Police say the situation was brought under control and the crowd was dispersed around 10 p.m. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made.

“I really truly believe that anybody showed up with the intention of causing a problem,” said IMPD Sgt. Catherine Cummings.

“When you get large groups of teens unsupervised, it’s hard to control,” Hart said.

Sunday night, Skateland Indy announced on its Facebook page that children under 18 would no longer be allowed to be dropped off at the skating rink. Any juvenile who arrives without adult supervision will be asked to leave.

“We want them to have adult supervision,” Hart said. “I don’t want to be their adult supervision. Our core business is families, and we want to protect that core business. So we don’t want their unsupervised kids. So hey, if your kids want to skate, come skate with them.”

Additionally, any juvenile who attends one of Skateland’s skating sessions will be required to be wearing skates.

“We know they are here for our business if they’re skating,” Hart said. “They’re not here to hang out and cause problems.”

Although the problems Saturday night are blamed on the social media ad for the lock-in party, Hart believes parental supervision would have kept the crowd from growing so large and unruly. And he hopes the new policy will keep an incident like Saturday night from happening again.

IMPD says they support the new policy and the message it sends to parents.

“I think the message is parents, be involved with your kids,” Cummings said. “Know where your kids are going, know who they’re visiting with. Show up, help chaperone.”

Hart said the person who posted the bogus ad on social media has been identified and that man was confronted by Skateland staff when he arrived at the rink Saturday. Hart says he was told that police are investigating the social media post further. IMPD did not confirm that Monday.

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