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‘It wrecked everything for everybody’: Calgary mall bans students during the day

Click to play video: 'Calgary mall bans highschool students from entering during the day'
Calgary mall bans highschool students from entering during the day
WATCH: Calgary mall bans highschool students from entering during the day – Oct 3, 2022

Frustration is mounting for hundreds of hungry school students after a northeast Calgary mall barred them from entering during the day.

During lunch hour on Monday, students who headed to the Village Square Mall for a bite to eat instead found security guards and a note posted by property management banning their entry, leaving them with fewer options for lunch.

That note on the door reads, “effective October 1st, 2022, the students of Lester B. Pearson High School and Clarence Sansom School are not allowed in Village Square Mall from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. There will be a security guard at each entrance door to monitor progress and ask the students to leave the property. Those who refuse to leave the property will be reported to the school constable and could be fined and/or charged with trespassing.”

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Students believe the measures taken by mall management aren’t right.

“We’re not gonna have anywhere to go at lunch. It’s just not fair to us, to be honest,” says student Kennedy Schuler.

Schuler’s friend and classmate Aaliyah Whitman-Samir says because of the ban, “students don’t really have anywhere to go and that was kind of our place. I feel like we had more options and now we’re kind of limited to certain options.”

Other students say with the ban in place, it isn’t just hurting those looking for lunch, but those who serve them as well.

“I don’t want to be rude, but we were basically the ones that were giving them business,” says Grade 11 student Ahmed Thome. “I just feel like it wrecked everything for everybody,” he adds.

Click to play video: 'Family Matters: Reversing students’ learning and eating schedules'
Family Matters: Reversing students’ learning and eating schedules

Several restaurant owners at the food court, including Tann Van, agree the ban is bad for business.

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The owner of Van’s Café has been serving hundreds of teenagers lunch daily for nearly a decade, however, on Monday the food court was empty, and his food went to waste.

“We cook, but we cannot sell. Usually this time lunch time, a lot of kids come in, very busy, today, nothing,” says Van.

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However, not everyone is upset about banning students from the shopping centre.

Hapreet Singh, who works in the mall, says he and some of the other employees were fearful for their safety, adding “everyday the mall was damaged.”

“Every week there was police coming over, fire alarms, broken chairs, broken windows, broken doors. False fire alarms. There was a lot,” he says.

Singh says he has worked in the mall for nearly six years, and now that the ban is in place, he’s says Monday afternoon was a completely different atmosphere – he’s never heard the mall so calm and quiet.

“It felt weird when I came in. It was empty, there was no noise, no screaming, it just felt different,” says Singh.

Global News has reached out to the property management group for comment about what prompted the ban or how long it will last, but has not yet received a response.

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The Calgary Board of Education says it is aware of the situation, and while it doesn’t know if CBE students are involved in any issues inside the mall, it expects its students to be good citizens inside and outside the classroom.

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