Fights at skating rink dances
Date: 2008-11-01 14:22:17
Submitted By: Come Get You Some
Fist fights. Bloody noses. Arrested teens. It's not the scene most expect to see when they arrive at a skating rink to pick up their teens after a dance. But brawls have broken out three consecutive Sundays after events at Kate's Skating Rink in Rock Hill, which has some parents on edge. But the rink's owner wants parents to know he's doing his best to keep the events safe for guests, and a greater police presence will be visible for an event scheduled tonight. Teens gather from 7 to 11 p.m. on Sundays at Kate's to dance to popular hip-hop tunes. The initial event at the rink and a subsequent one ran smoothly, the rink's manager said, but fights erupted in the parking lot after the last three dances. "We tried to do a good thing, and it backfired," said owner Rob Schisler of Columbia. "It's a shame that they have to start fights. It's not that we are such a terrible place. It takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole barrel. ...We're trying to do something wholesome." Since July 6, police have responded 10 times to the skating rink, including last Sunday when fights erupted and a 15-year-old male teen was arrested, a police report notes. Another dance is slated for tonight. "It's something we're trying to do for the kids," manager Donnie Allen said. "It's not fair to punish the good kids, so we are going to continue for now." To curb violence and promote safety, rink officials have beefed up security. Fourteen security guards and two officers from York County Sheriff's Office will monitor tonight's event, Allen and Capt. Allen Brandon of the sheriff's office said. During last Sunday's dance, 12 security guards monitored safety. Two county deputies were requested in writing, but none came, Schisler said. But such requests for deputies can't always be granted, Brandon said. "If we have something that occurs, that takes a greater precedence. We will have to fill that need," he said. "We always tell individuals we may not be able to fill all overtime requests." But tonight, law enforcement will be on guard. "There will be an increased visibility of patrol units in that area during this event because of past violence," Brandon said. "There is the propensity for something bad to happen late at night. Our goal for the skating rink is to have a safe event for all those attending, but if something does happen, we will react."