Call 4 Action - Teens Claim Discrimination at Valle Vista Mall

Two Harlingen teens said they were unfairly targeted and followed by a security guard at Valle Vista Mall all because of the clothes they were wearing.

They said they were victims of discrimination.

"I paid for my clothes I should be able to wear what I want," John Vinyard said.

Vinyard and his buddies often visit skate parks to learn new tricks or wear-in a new skate board.

Like other teens, they also like to go to the mall.

But on one Sunday visit, they found a not so welcoming atmosphere.

"In about 10 minutes we were approached by security to tell me that I had to take my hoodie off (because) he couldn't see my face from behind me," Vinyard said.

This left Vinyard and his friend Roger Williams stunned.

"He was just harassing us and he followed us around the mall," Vinyard said.

William's little brother who was also wearing a hoodie. Williams said the teens felt classified as criminals for their attire.

"Just because a few people did something wrong wearing a hoodie it doesn't mean you got to stereotype the rest of the world, Williams said.

Action 4 News took the concerns to administration at Valle vista mall. They wouldn't speak on camera about the issue, but they said there is dress codes and other rules in place.

They said all Simon property malls nationwide follow these rules to ensure the safety of its visitors and employees. They said the rules are posted at all mall entrances.

The teens realize these may be mall rules, but feel they should be allowed to express themselves with style while shopping at the only mall in Harlingen.

"This is just the fashion of skateboarders, Vinyard said. I skate - I come out here to have fun - I just like to wear it. It's comfortable."