• Peter Grins, 17, a MSSH student, said he hangs out there a lot. “Every day,” he said. “This is like my second home. I think the cops are taking their job way too seriously. They’re abusing their power. I’ve never seen an actual crime committed here on the Circle and I don’t see the need for this curfew.”
• Amalyer Morales, 16, has been hanging out on the Gazebo a lot more recently because of extracurricular activities at school and it’s a place to go until her parents can pick her up.
“People just sit around like we’re doing,” said Morales. “Sometimes I have to hang out late, so I don’t know what I’m going to do if I have to leave at 10. Walk in the night, I suppose.”
• Jiselle Banachi, 13, is a Miami Springs Middle School student. “I’m here very often because it’s a fun place to hang out,” she said. “I’m here on weekdays till late afternoon and later on weekends. I don’t think (the restricted hours) are necessary.”
• Matthew Leduc, 17: “I hang out here as often as I can, almost every day.” He said the curtailed hours will affect him mostly on weekends.
“We don’t come out here to hurt anybody. It looks worse for the cops to come here every day in the middle of the town,” said Leduc. “I understand that bad apples can cause the cops to come here but they can go about it in a different way.” He declined to give an example, but he added, “It feels like discrimination.”
• Bianely Flores, 17, goes to school in Hialeah but lives in Miami Springs. “I don’t like (the new hours) because most people don’t have to go home right away, so where are we going to go?” she said. “Being here at night keeps us out of trouble and out of danger. We’re safe here and we can have fun. I might have to find another hangout place for late night.”
Grins said, “This is the center of town and where everyone ends up no matter where you live. This is the juncture point. If they take this out, we’ll just be on the streets. It’s not a good resolution. We’re all polite. We’re family. If we don’t know you, we’ll make you welcome, no matter your age.”