Eager to enjoy a beautiful summer day at the mall with her mom, an Illinois girl wrapped her head in smiley faces, flowers and peace signs. Her joy quickly turned to sorrow when a jack-booted mall cop made her take off the offensive bandanna.
Lydia Smith, 10, and her mother were enjoying the gastronomic delights at the food court of the aptly named Battlefield Mall this past Saturday. While they ate, a rent-a-cop patrolling the area made a nearby teen remove a bandanna. The thug then turned his attention to the little girl.
"(The officer) asked me to take it off and said there's this new rule we have or something like that," Lydia said.
Lydia's mother Susan asked why on earth her child was being accosted in such a manner. The fashionista quietly handed her a printed copy of the Battlefield Mall Code of Conduct. It seems that by "wearing apparel which is likely to provoke a disturbance or embroil other groups or the general public in open conflict" her little girl was in violation of rule #10.
Lydia says the only statement she was trying to make was "I know how to accessorize."
"Some people might wear things that upset people's beliefs, but I just don't understand the whole thing about not being able to wear the bandanna," Lydia said. "I just wore it that day to give my outfit a bit of color."
The mall's spokesman, Les Morris, thinks the rule speaks for itself.
"The code of conduct is pretty clear and, you know, I think common sense should prevail," Morris said.
"The bottom line is we want to have an environment (conducive) to shopping," said Christine Moses, director of mall marketing. "Offensive apparel does not fit in with that environment."
When it was pointed out that Battlefield Mall retailer J.C. Penney sells bandannas, Moses stood firm.
"There are things we sell that it's OK to own them, but to use them in the mall setting is inappropriate," Morris said.
Joyce McCammon of Springfield finds the whole thing outrageous. She says if that's their policy, they should start chasing away the sluts, too.
"If they're going to pick on a little kid like that, then they shouldn't let 15-year-olds run around with halter tops," she declared.
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