I’ve heard things said about part one of this post: someone said that I will get what’s coming for me when I’m applying for a job and a potential employer comes across the post. I disagree. I regularly consider the potential consequences regarding what I post online and it’s effect on my future. If anything, I would hope a potential employer would know that change does not happen by staying silent, and that freedom of expression creates a better society for everyone. If a potential employer doesn’t see it that way, perhaps that’s a good test as to whether we would be a good fit.
Of course, this person sharing their opinion was a teacher, wouldn’t have read the post, and perhaps feels threatened by the prospect of students having a voice that cannot be contained by the walls and threats of the school.
In any case, there’s not room for all of us to rescue animals for the SPCA.
Values (Part Dos)
I think that sticking up for your rights is important. I think that sticking up for yourself is important. I think that if you don’t stand up for your rights, you’re making it easier for them to be taken away altogether. I think that freedom from unreasonable detention is an important right.
Security personnel in malls are quite often unfriendly, unnecessarily aggressive and lack people skills. I would like to see statistics for how many tried to apply to be police officers, but for some reason failed.
Eg. At a Westfield Riccarton “talent quest” I was approached by a woman who worked for the mall and was scolded for taking (consensual) photos of people I knew solely because they were in the “backstage area”. For anyone familiar with how they set up their stage, you would know that the backstage area could also be considered “that open to the public, uncovered area in front of Kmart”. Later, possibly related, our group was approached by a security guard and told to not “cause any crap today”.
In December 2008, I was part of a separate group of four that were locked in a small room off of the car park at The Palms by security.
The “crime” for the other three people was returning to the mall to watch a movie after being told to leave for the day. The reason for being told to leave? Pushing a wheelchair that was already on an escalator up it and then down, and letting it go briefly on the way down. I was standing at the bottom of the escalator. I was never told to leave for the day, but apparently as I did indeed walk off the premises with one of the others, I had banned myself for the day too and should have known this.
After reentering the mall we were accosted by security at the ticketing counter, who now wanted to trespass us. I’m not saying reentering the mall was the best decision, but we had no intention of causing any trouble and just wanted to watch the movie we came to the mall to watch.
This is perhaps a good time to mention that we were all around 14-years-old.
One friend was physically grabbed on the arm to stop her from leaving. We were herded through to their security HQ, which today appears to be a Community Constable’s office. I resisted entering this office, but when several adults are surrounding you, it’s clear they have no problem getting physical, and your friends are already inside, there is not much choice involved in the matter.
If you are a visual person, here is a quality cellphone photo of where we were:
I am squashed in a corner behind a door that’s being guarded by the woman to the right of the photo. There are not enough seats for the four of us. There’s a table directly in front of us, dividing the room. The older man never leaves. Occasionally others enter, like the man writing out a trespass notice on the desk. The room is tiny, the walls are directly behind me, directly to the right of me, where the paper baskets are, and where the barred window is.
We were given no opportunity to leave, and I am sure we would have been prevented from leaving if we tried to. We were being held against our wills. We were not under citizen arrest, and the police were not on their way.
For some, maybe it seems like we deserved this, or that it doesn’t seem like a big deal.
But I felt, and still feel victimized. I regret not doing more to try to leave at the time.
To begin with, all of us refused to give our personal details. Many scare tactics were used to get us to comply. They threatened to call the police (maybe they did, but were told that the police had better things to do with their time) and all the schools in Christchurch to find out our names (1) schools weren’t open this day 2) even if they were, whoever answered would not be able to place a name to a physical description 3) they wouldn’t have discussed student details anyway).
I protested that I had nothing to do with the escalator and that it wasn’t clear to me that I was banned for the day. I repeatedly requested to view the security camera footage they were reviewing (or said they were reviewing) in the adjacent room, a request which was repeatedly denied.
A man, probably the manager, or person in charge this day came in and took photos of us on his cellphone.
I was taken outside by myself twice. Once to tell me they decided not to trespass me.
Even though I could go, I didn’t want to hang around outside alone, and I didn’t want to leave my friends.
The next time I was taken outside was to try to get me to tell them the names of the others – my response was that their refusal was their business, not mine. Another tactic used to get their names was “we need to see inside your wallets to see if you have stolen anything”.
Eventually, my friends gave up. They said their names, and were coerced into signing the bottom of the trespass notice. (If anyone’s curious, they try to look up your parents up to check the name you give).
And then, they were released.
My intention is to shine a light on what happens behind closed doors, sometimes probably with people much younger than we were at the time. The malls know that young people don’t know their rights, and are unlikely to stand up to big, rough, bullying adults, but they don’t care. It’s much more important for them to nab that group of kids pushing a wheelchair on an escalator.
Stand up for what you believe in. Because it matters.
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 21:05:11 +1200
Subject: Trespass Procedure
From: Matt Taylor
Dear The Palms,
Have you changed your procedure, or does this sort of thing still go on?