peace sign bandanna banned in Springfield mall

Bandanna banned in Springfield mall
Officials won’t explain how headgear is offensive.

Published Thursday, June 22, 2006

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – A southwest Missouri mall defended its dress code after a security guard told a 10-year-old girl her bandanna decorated with peace signs, smiley faces and flowers violated the mall’s code of conduct.

Lydia Smith, who was shopping with her mother at Battlefield Mall for new church clothes when the incident happened Saturday, said she wore the orange and yellow bandanna to give her outfit some color.

Lydia and her mom, Susan Smith, were eating lunch when the girl saw a mall security officer ask a nearby teenager to remove a bandanna. Then the officer approached her.

“(The officer) asked me to take it off and said there’s this new rule we have or something like that,” Lydia said.

The officer handed Lydia’s mother a printed copy of the Battlefield Mall Code of Conduct, which prohibits patrons from engaging in certain activities while on mall property.

Lydia had violated No. 10 on the list of 17 offenses: “failing to be fully clothed or wearing apparel which is likely to provide a disturbance or embroil other groups or the general public in open conflict.”

Mall officials won’t clarify what clothing and accessories are prohibited.

“The code of conduct is pretty clear, and, you know, I think common sense should prevail,” said Les Morris, spokesman for Simon Property Group Inc., which owns the mall.

Under the code, people who don’t comply with the code can be asked to leave. If they don’t leave, they can be arrested for trespassing.

Christine Moses, director of mall marketing, noted the mall is privately owned and behavior on its premises can be regulated.

“The bottom line is we want to have an environment (conducive) to shopping. Offensive apparel does not fit in with that environment,” she said, although she could not say how the bandanna was offensive.

Similar policies are in place at 285 Simon properties in 39 states and Puerto Rico.

At least one Battlefield Mall retailer, JCPenney, sells bandanas. They come in black, white, blue and red and sell for $4.50.

“There are things we sell that it’s OK to own them, but to use them in the mall setting is inappropriate,” Morris said.

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