Worlds of Fun melee results in new chaperone policy for guests under 16 after 4 p.m.; wary law enforcement hopes it helps

Worlds of Fun amusement park in Kansas City will require chaperones starting Saturday for guests under 16, after a wild melee a week prior involving 100-150 teens.

The massive fight began in the park on its opening weekend and spilled out into the parking lot as security and off-duty law enforcement officers tried to remove those involved. One teen girl was arrested, then released to her parents, after she punched an officer in the face.

Starting Saturday those 15 and under will be required to be accompanied by an adult 21 or over in order to enter or remain in the park after 4 p.m.

“The chaperone must present a valid government-issued photo identification with date of birth at ticket entry,” the new policy says. “In addition, the chaperone must accompany their party during entry, remain inside the park during their visit, and be available by phone throughout their stay.”

Clay County Sheriff Will Akin told The Heartlander officers from several agencies were meeting Friday afternoon to revisit plans for preventing or responding to such incidents. Off-duty officers from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas City Police Department were already embedded in the park, which helped the situation last Saturday.

A similar brawl involving some 300 youths rocked the park in 2019.

Akin says social media, particularly Snapchat, usually help spawn and coordinate such mayhem, often fueled by school rivalries.

“They take to Snapchat and they start coordinating different locations for fighting and stuff like that because of the whole school rivalries – or because they’re bored,” he told The Heartlander.

Akin said the park’s new chaperone policy is a good one. “It takes a lot of resources for us to respond to major incidents – when, you know, you’ve got a hundred people gathering and then we have to push them outside the park.

“But even more so, what happens when they’re pushed outside of the park? Our big concern is, if they continue to fight out in the parking lot we’re going to have to call more resources in – or somebody is angry and they jump in their car and try to take off and they hit someone or someones in the process of trying to leave.

“It’s a very difficult situation to manage. I hope what Worlds of Fun has done will help us manage it, but it’s left to be seen.”

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