Bell's becoming babysitter for unsupervised kids

Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Law enforcement was called to Bell's Amusement Park Saturday night as a large group of kids were waiting for a ride home after the park closed. Bell's says it was concerned about what could happen with such a large group of kids. There is concern that the park is becoming a babysitter for unsupervised kids.

Read more from KTUL/Tulsa.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:55 AM
Well, since Six Flags is raising prices, the "unsupervised kids" have to go someplace for cheap babysitting. Perhaps their parnts got a good price on a bus charter to Tulsa.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 9:15 AM
IMHO they should be careful not to tick of their customers and do the things that attract adults as well.

Chuck

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 10:57 AM
I'm ambivalent on this one. When I was a kid, my folks would let me go off and do my own thing with friends for a while during shopping excursions or whatnot. However, it was never more than a couple of hours. Also, I remember quite a few school trips to parks where we were allowed to split into small groups and do as we pleased. Heck, we used to go off and ride our bikes all over the place by ourselves.

But perhaps a line is being crossed when there are no chapperones at the park in case something happens. Also, the park should have the right to create rules about keeping kids under a certain age supervised...especially in these litigious (is that spelled correctly Mr. Smith?) times. ;)

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 2:03 PM
Is this case of Bells being a little over zealous about kids?

That article did not really explain what they were doing..

Just standing around waiting for a ride?

Or waiting for a ride and knocking over fences while turning over cars?

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 2:07 PM

Is this case of Bells being a little over zealous about kids?

Yeah, I have to agree with this. They called the police based on the potential for something to happen. Whatever? I think this comment says more than enough:

"Children don't have the respect for authority, other people's property and other people," says Park Owner Robbie Bell."

Isn't it kind of weird for someone with such distrust of kids to own an amusement park?

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 3:55 PM

Authorities Respond To Large Fight At Tulsa's Bell's Amusement Park

More than a hundred police officers responded to a large fight at Bell's Amusement Park Saturday night...

http://www.kotv.com/main/home/stories.asp?whichpage=1&id=80716

Date? 4/3/2005. I'd say they have reason to be a little nervous.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:05 PM
Yeah, but (from the same article):


The park owner called Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies and Tulsa Police after too many unsupervised young people were running around and getting out of hand. Police say one juvenile was taken into custody, but no one was injured.

"We had a few teenagers that just got a little rowdy and we had to use a little bit of gas, so we just cleared the park."



Wow! They have a history of calling the police when a group of unsupervised kids forms...and they use gas to disperse crowds!

Reminds me of the Simpsons episode when Flanders asks the bullies hanging outside the Leftorium to leave. :)

I'm not condoning using parks as a babysitting service, I'm not saying things can't happen, but there seems so much distrust and contempt towards the kids who visit. Who exactly do they expect to visit the park?

If it's really that big of a deal, then enforce the same rules Lake Winnie put in place after they had incidents. Don't invite the kids and then b!tch when they come.

*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar 4/11/2006 4:07:11 PM ***

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:18 PM
I :)
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:25 PM
It beats calling the police and shooting gas at the kids. :)
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:02 PM
Well at least us responsible 19 year olds (and soon to be 20 year olds) can go to Bells and get gassed rather than just go to SFOG every weekend... :-\
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:39 PM
Well, I have to kind of side with Bell's on this on. I used to manage a roller rink and parents used to drop off their kids all the time and expect us to be babysitters for their kids. I hated it! The kids were very ill mannered, were abusive to we as managers, and most of all were just plain mean. We threw them out on their butts, and they were banned till they could prove they could be little ladies and gentlemen. Noone should be a babysitter for someone else's that are irresponsible parents.
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:09 AM
At no point should a 12 year old kid be left at an amusement park with his 12 year old friends. I let my daughter go off with her friends for a little while at that age, but I was at the park and we had 2-way radios to contact each other.

The article didn't say how long after the park was closed that they were still waiting for a ride.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:21 AM
I'm stuck in the middle on this one.

On one hand you have to feel for the park, many times you have kids that are dropped off at the park and just wonder around all day. They have little money and don't care to ride the rides. This happened all the time with SFWOA. Mon and Dad buy the kids a pass and drop them off at the park and pick them up later in the day. This is why some parks don't offer season passes. To this day this is still an issue for many Six flags parks.

Than you have the kids who have the chance to go to the parks maybe once or twice a year and the kids are looked down on. I recall when I was yonger 13 or 14 (early 90's) my friends parents dropped us off at Geauga Lake for the day, there was about 8 or 10 of us, and we were in the main gift shop while it was raining and the employees kicked us out but allowed older people to stay. You have to treat everybody the same. These parks targets kids but aren't happy when they show up.

It's kind of a tough issue. I have seen kids cause lots of problems. However I have seen kids also behaving.

It's a loose loose situation. You want the kids to come hower you don't want the kids there either.

As a business you want the kids because they bring money and as a business you don't want the kids because of the problems they bring when they don't have the money. Catch 22!

They way our society works I'm not sure how to solve this issue.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 9:19 AM
I'm not going to fault Bell's on this one. I'm remembering a scene I saw at a local shopping district a couple of weeks ago...

It was just 11:00pm. I had just come out of a restaurant, and a very large crowd of young people was forming on the berm at the edge of the parking lot. I don't know where they were coming from; my suspicion is that a movie or three had just ended at the mall theater across the street.

These people seemed to be waiting for rides or something. Generally loitering. But it was a very large crowd, perhaps 75-100 people with more arriving. And while the crowd did not appear to be engaged in any illegal or immoral activity, it was getting loud, it was getting restless, it was getting active, and it was clear that this was the kind of crowd that probably wouldn't, but could very easily get out of hand very quickly.

In this case, two police cruisers appeared in the parking lot , roared up to the berm and...sat there. Oddly enough, the crowd immediately began to disperse. Nobody had to do anything, nobody got arrested, there wasn't any trouble.

Sometimes all you need is the obvious presence of an outside authority to prevent trouble.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 10:34 AM
Or a couple of cannisters. ;)
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:54 AM
I've read couple of posts where you guys think that the parks are specifically targeting young kids to come to their parks, and then look down on them when they do show up. You're not looking at the whole picture here. I believe that these advertisements, that get the attention of the kids to want to go to their parks, are designed to get the kids to convince their parents that the whole family should go to the park together, and not just as a convenient solution for the parents, who really would rather be doing something else to begin with.
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Monday, April 17, 2006 4:58 PM
I don't see what the big deal is, I worked for Bell's 30 years ago and the same things happened back then. Kids not being picked up, fights. It happens anywhere that you get a large number of unsupervised teens. The real problem was it was a slow news day and there was nothing else going on.

p.s. Yes, I do work for a television station, and I know a blown out of proportion story when I see one.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006 2:12 PM
Will Bells become another Lake Winnie? I hope not. Teens should not be excluded from a park just because there is no older person with them. Why not use the solution that KW used in the 1990s and Seabreeze still does? Under a certain age requires the purchase of a POP ticket for admission but does not otherwise keep you from coming..

Interestingly enough, Waldameer has avoided this problem up to now in spite of their location and a free gate. I just wonder what will happen once they have more thrill rides such as the drop tower and the new coaster. And what about Lakeside? $2 general admission, no age restrictions that I am aware of, and in a large city. Knoebels, of course, is away from the urban areas so that's why they don't have these problems.

The real trick is to price the parks high enough to keep the trouble out but low enough to offer fair value. Six Flags has it backward. They should lower the one day tickets and raise the season passes. KW might have the best overall approach for a park in or near an urban area. No season passes but special rates for evening visitors. The teens can and will come but they won't repeatedly use the park as a hangout. If they want to come and ride some coasters and other rides, they are welcome. If they want to come to cause trouble, they aren't likely to pay the price for admission.

I used to go to KW and West View as a teen without any chaperones or other adults back in the 1960s. I was there to enjoy the rides, not to cause trouble. I would have really hated to see a "Lake Winnie" policy at either of these parks. .

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