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Mom barred at door of teen bowling night

ST. PETERSBURG Sunrise Lanes points to its no-adults policy on summertime teen night.

Published July 1, 2007


No alcohol. No high jinks. No parents?

The mother of a teenage son says she was turned away from Sunrise Lanes last week when she tried to check on her son during one of the bowling alley's summertime teen nights.

Jamie Keseleski said the bowling center's manager said no adults - that meant parents, too - were allowed in the facility during the special teen program with lasers and music that runs from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.

"She would not let me come in to know if my underage child was there, " Keseleski said.

Jerry Krauss, 74, a member of the family that owns Sunrise Lanes and has operated other bowling alleys in the area for more than 50 years, says they are simply trying to protect teenagers using their centers. The no-adults policy for Sunrise Lanes' Galactic Teen Night also is in place at Seminole Lanes, the other facility his family operates in Pinellas County, Krauss said.

"It says in the flier, no adults, period, " said Krauss, whose son, Kevin, is chief operating officer of the business. Krauss added that no one has had a problem with the policy for the more than 15 years since the teen night has been offered.

Until now.

Keseleski, 47, said she had been unaware of the policy when she went to Sunrise Lanes late Tuesday night to check on her son, Tyler.

"I was going up there for a purpose and the purpose was to make sure that my 16-year-old was where he was supposed to be, " she said. "I wanted to go and tap him on the shoulder and just say 'hi, ' because I had caught him lying about where he was a couple of times."

The manager on duty, Faith Emmert, would not let her enter, said Keseleski, a mother of two sons. Instead, Emmert asked for her son's name and paged Tyler, announcing that his party was waiting. Tyler had gone with a friend and wasn't expecting her, Keseleski said.

"She didn't say his last name. How many Tylers are there? Then she came back and said, 'Your child is not here, ' " Keseleski said. "I was about ready to tackle her."

A few minutes later she spotted her son through the bowling alley's slightly open door.

Krauss said the bowling facility at 6393 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N imposed the policy for safety reasons.

"We want to keep control of what's going on, " he said, adding that extra staff and security officers monitor the proceedings.

"It's a place for young people to go safely with no alcohol. We close our bar. There are games and snacks and bowling. We want young people in the age between 13 and 17, " he said.

That means the place is off-limits for everyone from 18-year-olds to grandparents, Krauss said.

Keseleski, a single mother, said she thinks the teen night is a great idea and can even understand the no-adults policy - to a point.

"I can't imagine a parent dropping off their 12-year-old and not being able to go in there, " she said.

Her own situation with Tyler could have been handled better, she said.

"I say they could have walked me to him and then walked me out, " she said. "I didn't want to stay and have a Coke. I didn't want to bowl. I just wanted to make sure he was there. It was 11:30 at night and I should know where he is."

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at 727 892-2283 or

[Last modified June 30, 2007, 23:26:44]

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