Management Forbids Kids From Turning Apartment Complex Into Lord Of The Flies Compound And Parents Are Pissy

dirty naughty kidsI love to tell punk kids to get off my lawn, Rob Zombie-style as much as the next guy, but this next story gave me a bit of a pause. On one side are some parents that say this apartment complex HATES KIDS YA’LL, and on the other side are the management that say they are just trying to keep everyone safe.

Earlier this week residents at The Orchards at Cherry Creek Park apartment complex, located in Centennial, Colorado, received a notice in their monthly newsletter explaining some unorthodox new rules. According to the notice:

All children must be supervised by an adult at all times while playing outside. No sports activities, skateboarding, rollerblading, or general extracurricular activities are to take place in our community. If we see anyone violating any of the above activities or see any unsupervised children they will be sent home immediately.

Besides not understanding what the word “extracurricular” means (unless The Orchards is also a school) I don’t see what the big deal is. And apparently these new rules are needed due to some recent shenanigans on the part of the complex’s youngest tenants.

According to Barbara Briggs, the President of Team Asset Management Corp. which manages The Orchards, it isn’t safe to ride skate boards or rollerblades on the complex grounds (which should make sense to pretty much anyone who has lived in an apartment complex). She goes on to say:

“We’ve had people clipped. We’ve had people fall. They like to crawl in the dumpsters, crawl on top of the car ports, throw rocks, break windows.”

She also mentioned resident complaints regarding toys and bikes accumulating in public areas, kids swimming alone in the pool and teens engaging in “promiscuous activities” in the open. DAMN. This place sounds like a kiddie-style Sodom and Gomorrah. No wonder they are over it. If I had to deal with that I would start hating kids as much as the dads in this video.

Knowing all of this, the next dude sounds downright bananas. According to a parent who lives in the complex. who asked to be called simply “Peter,” says the new rules are SOOO UNFAIR! They are totes discriminating against families! Actually, I think they are just “discriminating” against brats, but hey! Semantics, right? He goes on to say:

“I really don’t understand what the kids can do in the summer if they cannot play. They are basically telling us that children are not welcome here, please go.”

I want to note here that according to Briggs, there are numerous parks and playgrounds just a few minutes away from the complex. To be fair, however, when I checked it out for myself on Google Maps, none of them seem to be close enough that I personally would feel safe allowing my kids to go alone. Then again my kids are all under the age of 10. These parks are still well within walking distance and I think it would be fine for a tween or teen. There is also a nearby hiking trail which you can see in the picture below, and of course Cherry Creek, which is a popular hang out area.

ScreenHunter_102 Aug. 06 12.40

This is where Peter goes seriously off the deep end. Apparently The Orchards is gonna make all these kids FAT and LAZY.

“The country is becoming obese. If we are saying no, you can’t run. You can’t do this; you can’t bicycle; we are telling them it’s okay to be obese,” Peter said. ”Enjoy the sunshine. Be active. Be healthy,”

Wut?

No. Just no. It isn’t the apartment complex manager’s job to make sure your kids get enough exercise.

In case you still think that the management here are a bunch of kid hating douchecanoes, they DO allow kids to skate or blade on the sidewalk that goes around the complex, which seems fair to me.

Now, I understand that the parents of kids who don’t act like they are living in Lord of the Flies might feel like they are being unjustly punished, but they can’t very well enforce the rules for some parents and not others. Like Briggs says, these rules aren’t a part of some Cruella DeVil-esque plot to make kids miserable. They are to keep everyone safe and stop the few obvious asshole kids from playing in garbage and using the elderly as skateboard ramps. And that seems more than sensible to me.

(Photo: A Z Photography (LRPS))

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    • Elizabeth Wakefield

      I wonder if there is a little bit more backstory to this decree from the apartment complex that we aren’t hearing about. For example – did the apartment complex figure out the specific kids who were acting ridiculous and speak to their parents first before making such a broad sweeping statement? The only thing that bothers me is that there probably are tons of kids that AREN’T acting like little hooligans and are playing and behaving appropriately, but now they are suffering the consequences of just a few jerky kids.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I wondered the same thing, but I can’t seem to find a definitive answer about it. I did shoot the management company an email but no one has answered yet. I will update if they do.

      • Rachel Sea

        That was my first thought, but when you get a lot of kids together, it can be hard to tell at a glance which ones are the ringleaders. Unless someone has time to study them (which would be creepy), and identify which kids are the problem, and then take it up with those parents, the only reasonable way to stop the behavior is to cut everyone off.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        Yup, especially if a lot of them dress alike (as in similar trends). I have a hard time telling my own cousins apart from a distance, lol. They all wear the same “skater” type clothes and the same style hats.

    • Cee

      How dare the apartment manager force parents to look after their kids?! Hah.

      My apartment complex is one block away from a high school, meaning the complex has many teens. They love to go to the courtyard, especially at night to skate and man does that shit echo! Now, I’m a night owl and can kiinda deal with it to an extent, but I can see how people may find this annoying. Also, the manager is not responsible for a child’s physical fitness. He can however be responsible for accidents in the premises, so he is just covering his ass and making sure none of the tenants get hurt. If a parent is afraid their child will be obese, exercise in the apartment, eat healthy and take him somewhere where he can run around, don’t pin your child’s health on the person who collects your rent.

    • historychick79

      I’m torn on this. We lived in an apartment complex for a year; I was 7 and my brother 10yrs old. We rode bikes, we used sleds down the huge hill behind the complex (my brother hitting the building’s brick wall with his face twice, urgh), we ran around with other kids at the complex with tag or hide-and-seek games. And most of the time, we weren’t directly supervised; someone’s parents were at home but not in direct sight. And yes, some of the kids were creepier than others, and sometimes we got hurt (ahem, brick wall that doesn’t move), but there were lots of great memories in there. I think part of this sound like the apartment managers are being overly cautious about potential lawsuits; did someone already begin legal proceedings over an incident? And ‘extracurricular’ is ridiculously vague and all-encompassing. But how many complaints are they fielding about (legitimately) unruly kids, are the precious angels truly out of line? And would it hurt if the parents figured out some kind of rotation to be outside with the kids from time to time? The truth and best answer probably lies somewhere in between, as usual.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I feel the same way pretty much. I think it sucks that the kids who aren’t being totally jackasses have to be punished. But it does sound like the kids who were acting up were really, really terrible. From the few stories I found about it it doesn’t sound like there were police or anything involved but there was vandalism and many resident complaints from both people who have kids and those who don’t.

      • sfphilli

        Which all makes sense, but why not just go after the ones actually misbehaving? Have rules that make sense, rather than preventative decrees, and only punish the people who break them.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        They might have tried that already and found it too difficult to figure out exactly who is doing what, or they might be worried about a law suit, which is legitimate as far as I’m concerned. When I was a kid, this 13-year-old was skating in the parking lot of a local restaurant and he fell and broke his leg, and his parents sued the place and won. It was ridiculous because the kids he was hanging out with had been asked not to play there numerous times.

      • sfphilli

        If they’re afraid of lawsuits, the simplest and fairest solution is to just put a release in the lease agreement. Something along the lines of “if any injury derives from rule-breaking behavior (such as skateboarding or climbing on private property), the management is free from any liability.”

      • JLH1986

        What punishment could the facility put on the parents of the crap kids? Their lease likely doesn’t afford punitive fees for letting your kid act like an asshole. Not to mention ok I’ve talked to Susie and Johnny’s mom and dad and they seem better, but Tommy is starting to act up now. The property manager is too busy to try to chase down parents who likely don’t care. Enacting the same rules for everyone and then sending rule breakers home is the easiest, safest and cheapest way to avoid law suits. Because one of those kids who have been warned 8000 times is gonna break a leg jumping off the dumpster and mom is gonna sue the complex. OR worse a kid on a skateboard is going to be hit by a car and then all hell will really break loose.

      • sfphilli

        I don’t know that i’ve ever seen a lease without punitive fees, and even if it doesn’t, if the kids are violating the lease then the family can be warned and eventually evicted. That’s what lease agreements are for — to create rules and punishments for those rules.

    • Rachel Sea

      A few assholes can ruin anything for the group. I am all for kids being allowed out to play unsupervised, but if they are hurting people and damaging property, what can you do?

    • Blah

      Management DID NOT say that kids couldn’t play outside. They said that the children must have adult supervision. That is a 100% fair requirement, especially at the swimming pool. All swimming pools require children to be supervised.
      When I was around 9, we lived at an apartment complex with a jungle gym/sand box area. Having that equipment kept kids from running around all over the complex, they just played in the children’s area. If this apartment complex is so popular with families, they might think to invest in children’s playground equipment.

    • Annona

      Wow, I can’t believe I’m saying this because I’m usually the one getting dirty looks for being such a mean old kiddie hater, but this is kinda bullshit. It seems to me like all the children are being punished for the actions of a few. And it seems like it’s the apartment complex being lazy and politically correct and doing that thing where you just screw everyone over because god forbid one (or a few) people get singled out and get their tender fee fees hurt. If kids are really roaming the neighborhood breaking windows and throwing rocks at garages, I’m sorry but those kids need to be singled out and their parents need to take responsibility for the damage they caused. I find it hard to believe that every single kid in the entire place is a ravening little monster. It really makes me sad to think that now no kids can really play outside; when I was a kid, I played outside till dark, and no I didn’t have adult supervision because my mother was busy working, and then inside cleaning and cooking dinner for us all. Granted, I lived on a farm and not in an apartment complex, but a world where I couldn’t go outside and play would be pretty grim IMHO. No, the apartment manager isn’t responsible for the fitness of the children; but it seems like maybe he could target the specific kids causing the problem and their specific parents, instead of just blanket banning all kids playing outside without an adult. In a society where more and more kids just sit inside bathed in the glow of the tubes exercising their thumbs, anything that will keep kids from being able to go outside and play is not good, I think.

      • MOLogic

        Not about anyone fee fees. Its about making it the same for everyone. When you single out people, or parents in this case is when you get into trouble. If parents here feel that these rules established to keep the environment safe for everyone were in fact generated by the actions of a few misbehaving unsupervised minor tenants, instead of attacking the complex management, those parents should take it up with the parents they feel caused them grief. Kids need parenting. The complex management, or other tenants, should not be left with the responsibility of parenting your children. If you don’t like it there then move. It always amazes me how people want to live in a safe clean community and then complain about the expectations that made it, and keep it, such an safe clean community. It takes work and everyone has to do their part. No free rides. These complaining parents act like the world owes them something. This Peter person in the video is a good example. If you don’t like to live in a safe clean community then move someplace where they don’t care about such things and let your kids run free. When did social grace and good manners become such a burden to our children? Instead of raising a generation of self indulgent, narcissistic little brats, these people should put their energy into teaching their children how to understand and get along in a world with rules and restrictions. These freedoms we enjoy were earned and need to be respected and nurtured. Not mistreated and taken for granted. This is not rocket science. Only my opinion.

    • sfphilli

      Why not just enforce a “no skateboarding, etc.” rule? you can stop that kind of thing, as well as the climbing on the property, damaging the property shit, without saying “no kids on our property at all”. Kids do not need to be (and frequently can’t be) supervised all the damn time, and it is blatant ageism and discrimination to have absurd rules like this. No one is suggesting kids should be allowed to do anything they please and to hell with the people they hurt or annoy, but they also shouldn’t be held to stricter standards than adults. This complex is their home, and as long as they aren’t breaking things or putting people in any kind of danger or violating any laws, they should be allowed to play on the grounds as much as they like and as unsupervised as their parents like.

      and as for the sidewalk around the complex, i’m sure that that belongs to the city and not the management, which is why they are “allowing” things there — they can’t legally prevent it.

    • Blahblah

      Did I just read that they still allow the kids to play on the sidewalk that goes around the apartment complex? Yes? Then it’s fine. I’m sure that they all know which kids are not behaving correctly (haven’t we all been in that situation?). And I half wonder if management tried to approach those parents who were either a) always absent or b) play the “Well OTHER kids are baaad!” game.

      It’s a bummer that it’s easier to punish all kids than pick out the ones that really are naughty. Unfortunately, that’s the best way for the complex to cover their ass. They’re still a business, when you get right down to it.

      I’m all for the “Kids in the pool need to be supervised”. That’s just common sense. I don’t know what makes people see a pool and think “Large body of water? Eh, kids float pretty good. I don’t need to watch.”

    • SusannahJoy

      Errr, I hate to admit this, but I am totally on the side of the pissed off parents. So the complex is saying that for example, a 9 and 12 year old can’t toss a ball back and forth to each other? Seriously? No sports related activities? And I’m sorry, but kids can play outside unsupervised, at least, they can as long as they’re old enough and know how to behave. If a few kids are being destructive, then punish those kids. Saying “Oh but you can skate around the complex, on the public sidewalk” isn’t saying much. It does seem like they just don’t want to deal with kids.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I definitely think the notice they sent was wayy too open to interpretation. parents.

      • meteor_echo

        I looked at the map, and there’s apparently a place where they could play right across the road – a huge damn space the size of a whole block… as long as I didn’t misunderstand something and this open space belongs to this apartment complex.

    • The Great Queen Spider

      Honey this in Cherry Creek, this is not surprising.

    • Rachel

      The rules sound a bit rigorous to me, but hardly unreasonable. The wording really sounds very reactionary, honestly…kids throwing rocks and breaking windows is a very specific, hardly unreasonable complaint. Especially when you consider that the complex would probably be in a vulnerable legal situation if they ignored the obvious problems that have apparently been well-reported and documented, and something tragic unfolded (ie, a kid drowns in the apartment-owned pool).

      ‘Adult supervision’ is not that hard, especially in an apartment community–I suspect (based on my apartment-dwelling lifestyle), that responsible parents were supervising their kids well before this rule got put in place. It’s as easy as one parent/adult out of a bunch agrees to sit outside for a certain period once every 1-2 weeks.

      From this article, it really strikes me that this is one of those scenarios where a few entitled parents who never told their brats that the world shouldn’t conform to them brought strong rules down on everyone. And, as usually happens in these situations, the responsible parents don’t really mind the rules, but the entitled parents who caused all the problems are foaming in the mouth over it. To apocalyptic extremes, it appears (they won’t risk letting my unsupervised brat drown in their pool or run over people’s feet owith a skateboard–they are responsible for childhood obesity!).

    • Eisgood81

      After living in a multifamily property for close to 3 years with 3 young boys; I couldn’t agree more with the author! Kids left outside alone are disruptive and destructive at my property. They constantly are breaking things, climbing on other people’s cars, ratting through the garbage (and stringing it all over the property) and narrowly missing getting hit by cars coming in and out of the parking lot. If I had a dollar for every time I asked where their parents were; I’d have enough to buy a nice house where I wouldn’t have this problem any longer.
      Don’t even get me started on kids in the pool. I walked my kids down to the pool the other evening to find 7 kids under the age of 8 in the pool by themselves, in the deep end, clinging to edge for dear life. When I asked where their parents were they kept saying “They are coming.” After ten minutes I told them to go get their parents or I would call the cops and managment to come get their parents. About 20 minutes later I have angry parents asking “who I think I am, their kids are fine”
      I’m so ready to move!