New Kings Island chaperone policy stirs controversy

Graphic by Alisha Verma

Alisha Soni | The Chronicle

Just like a rollercoaster, Mason High School (MHS) students see the ups and downs of Kings Island’s new chaperone policy.

On April 22, 2023, Kings Island began the implementation of a new chaperone policy. Now, all guests ages 15 and under visiting the park after 4 PM require a chaperone of 21 or older. Other Cedar Fair-run parks in all parts of the country, such as Knott’s Berry Farm, Carowinds and Kings Dominion, have also added this chaperone policy to their code and conduct.

In the Kings Island code of conduct, Kings Island said that this policy was originally added because of “increasing incidents of unruly and inappropriate behavior across [the] industry and at other major entertainment venues.”

Freshman Mehar Soni is 14 years old and visits the Kings Island park frequently during the summer with their friends. However, due to their parents and their friends’ parents being occupied with work, they are concerned about being limited in their park visits because of a lack of access to a chaperone.

“If they do implement this policy strictly, then I won’t be able to go as often,” Soni said. “If we have parents that are working or there are parents that aren’t able to go to Kings Island for other reasons, what would [we] do?”

In the past few years, Soni has witnessed acts of unruly behavior at Kings Island. With the new policy that the park implemented, Kings Island’s code of conduct said “[they] believe these changes will help ensure that Kings Island continues to have a positive atmosphere.” However, Soni said that the policy is unlikely to be effective in addressing inappropriate behavior.

“If you want to get in a fight and if you were planning on fighting at Kings Island, a parent wouldn’t stop you,” Soni said. “If your parent is across the park, no one is gonna stop you from getting into fights. [The policy is] not practical.”

Freshman Emma Musheno is 15 years old and also frequently visits the park with her friends. Musheno said that the policy will force her to visit earlier in the day, most likely reducing the frequency of her park visits because of the summer heat.

Although the policy targets kids of a specific age range, Musheno said that some of the disruptive behavior that Kings Island is attempting to avoid is caused by older guests who do not fit into that age range.

“I feel like it’s not necessarily about the age, it’s more about the person,” Musheno said. “Whatever happened shouldn’t have to affect the entire age group. They should just be stricter upon entry or something because [the policy] leaves a lot of people out.”

Freshman Lyrelle Anderson has been a frequent guest at Kings Island since he was young and said he has noticed a difference in the park’s environment over the years due to the increased violence. Anderson said that the policy, although not effective toward safety, has a reason for being put in place.

“Not a lot of people my age are mature,” Anderson said. “I probably wouldn’t blame them for enforcing the rule.”

As many kids who fit in the age range of the chaperone policy look forward to the summer, the policy may limit their visits to Kings Island. Although Soni, Musheno and Anderson acknowledge the reasons for implementing the policy, they all said that changes need to be made to the policy to ensure a positive change for the park.

“From a safety perspective for younger people, I can see why it’s implemented,” Musheno said. “I would say that overall, Kings Island has gone at this wrong.”