Target’s ‘no teens after 4 p.m.’ policy frustrates Bakersfield parents.

"Target's 'no teens after 4 p.m.' policy sparks controversy in Bakersfield. Security cites safety concerns, teens and parents frustrated."

When we inquired as to the reason for the request to leave, we were informed that entry was restricted to those accompanied by an adult. Some of us from Bakersfield asked if we could go in for a quick cup of Starbucks, and they replied no.

Many other teens, including this one, have complained about being turned away from the Target store in the Valley Plaza Mall.

Avelina Caywood alleged that she and her two teenage children were also denied entry.

In late June, authorities stopped and questioned her 19-year-old daughter.

At the front, security detained him. After Caywood explained that anyone under the age of 18 is not permitted entrance to Target without an adult after 4 p.m., the security guards questioned Caywood’s age.

Their new policy has been verified by Eyewitness News.

Even if someone looks underage, they say they can’t ask to check IDs and must rely instead on their own judgment.

Caywood said this after her son had already informed security that he was above 18.

He was eventually admitted, but something about it continued to bother her.

That doesn’t make any sense, I informed him; did you notice anything written on the door? Is that all you heard? And did you notice them preventing anyone else from passing? Caywood added, “And he flat-out refused.

Then, two weeks later, the same thing happened to her daughter, who was then 16 years old.

“I don’t understand, it’s not like I was making trouble and why don’t they kick out the teens that do make trouble,” Caywood recalled her daughter saying.

A Target worker said to Eyewitness News that the shop made the change because of an increase in thefts, disputes, and unauthorized juvenile visitors.

The parent of a Caywood kid requested a sign explaining the new rules, but none have been erected as of yet.

Caywood felt “really rubbed the wrong way” by the fact that teenagers were the intended victims.

West Coast Trial Lawyers’ Ron Zambrano said that Target is not obligated to put such a sign.

“Now, wouldn’t that be the professional and decent thing to do? Sure, but they aren’t really necessary,” Zambrano remarked.

To reduce the possibility of theft, Zambrano added that age-based profiling is legal, but that stopping someone because of their color, gender, sexual orientation, or disability is illegal.

To ensure the continued success of their business model, companies are permitted to enact policies designed to make their employees and customers feel secure. So the chaperone policy is something that is directly relevant to making everyone feel comfortable in light of what has transpired, so long as it is applied uniformly, as Zambrano put it.

According to several of the target employees we talked to, this regulation might be in place for the rest of the year.

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