A cease and desist order has been issued against a dance studio at the Eastfield Mall after a weekend dance party, which attracted hundreds of teenagers, quickly got out of control.
The disturbance turned to panic when social media rumors started swirling about possible shots fired.
When 500 kids showed up to Youth Expressions dance studio on Saturday night for a dance party, Springfield Police and Fire had to shut it down
What was meant to be a safe night out for teenagers, turned to chaos when 500 teens showed up for a glow party put on at Youthful Expressions dance studio in the Eastfield Mall in Springfield.
The space can only fit 250 people, so when police shut down the party and turned away teens, people were upset.
Mass panic tore through social media after a video was posted, showing kids running through the mall after a loud bang. The rumor mill speculated that it was gunshots.
However, it wasn't. It was a large wooden art pieces hitting the ground. It was knocked over hitting the tile floors with a bang.
"From what we were able to see using our security cameras, that is what caused a little bit of a panic - a loud sound the kids who are in the vicinity shrieked and ran the whole thing lasted about four seconds," said Nicole Sweeney, co-property manager of the Eastfield Mall.
Those few seconds spread through social media, but Springfield Police told Western Mass News that there were no shots fired and that it was just a misunderstanding.
Youthful Expressions held a similar event last month, had 80 kids show up, and it was a great success, so this time around, they hoped for the same...but it got too big.
"We want to turn maybe people who view this as a negative bad experience and turn it around into a more positive," said Zena Murray, owner of Youthful Expressions.
The dance school did hire a police detail. They did not get an entertainment permit for the DJ they had, according to the city of Springfield - something owners were told they didn’t need because of their legal status as a dance studio.
However, Springfield Police said that they did need a permit and citations are still possible. Although, no arrests were made.
The Springfield Fire Department said that they were over-capacity and that's why it needed to be shutdown.
Murray told Western Mass News they learned a lot from this experience and they hope to grow from it.
"I guess everyone was kind of on the wrong page in regards to if we actually needed that full entertainment permit because we are dance school and we entertain. That’s what we do, so as far as a separate permit in addition to what we already have with our music lessons and things like that, we were advised that that wasn’t something that we needed because it was inside not outside, but we definitely are going to take more responsibility and investigate more instead of just taking words from others," Murray added.
Late Monday afternoon, the city issued a statement indicating that a "cease and desist" order had been issued for Youthful Expressions. In a statement, the city noted:
"Upon request of the Mayor, Licensing Director Attorney Alesia Days has issued a cease and desist to ‘Youthful Expressions’ at the Eastfield Mall. Mayor Sarno requests an entertainment hearing be held for this establishment. If the establishment is to continue it must be done properly in order to stop any type of discord and potential public safety issues to the patrons of the Eastfield Mall. Mayor Sarno hopes this establishment will work with the city to create a safe environment. If not, then continued actions will be forthcoming."
We should point out that no one was injured in the disturbance Saturday night and no arrests were made.
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