Parents get closer look at what teens are doing 'behind closed doors'

Police department creates mock teenage bedroom as parenting tool

Paul Kurtz
May 22, 2018 - 5:26 pm

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BENSALEM, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — When it comes to searching your child's bedroom, where does one draw the line between snooping and being a good parent?

If you ask the Bensalem Police Department, authorities say the devil is in the details — even the most subtle ones — and looking for them is a way to help.

To practice looking for illicit items in a teen's room, the police department unveiled a mock bedroom as a tool parents can use in their efforts to find out what their teenagers might be doing on the sly.

What was once a conference room has been converted into a mock teenager's bedroom inside the Bensalem Municipal Building, illustrating the most troubled of teens based on the illicit items that are stashed away — or hidden in plain sight.

Behind Closed Doors
Paul Kurtz | KYW Newsradio

A pipe bomb hides under the bed in a shoe box. A gas mask bong lingers behind a door under a hoodie. A blunt is masked under a baseball cap. Crack and heroin are camouflaged inside a rain boot. A crumpled suicide hotline number is stashed away.

Bensalem School District Supervisor Tammy Wood-Moghal said this bedroom contains items that cover just about every teenage temptation, from drugs, alcohol and weapons to signs of depression and suicide. 

"The purpose of this room was so that parents and community members will learn more about the subtle things to look for," she said, "the things that people are dealing with every day in their houses across the United States."

"In the drawer we have an assortment of hotel cards. This would be indicative of maybe an unhealthy relationship. Also in the drawer are condoms. There's a shell casing in that drawer as well. The other thing: Inside on the ground is a gun," narrated Director of Public Safety Fred Harran.

Harran said parents can find hundreds of items tucked away and hidden in plain sight. 

"We're giving [parents> some ideas and clues on what to look for in their child's room," he said. "You are the first line of defense. And we're not saying to turn your kids into the police. We're saying to get them help."

The bedroom will be on display for two months. Afterward, the contents will be transferred to a trailer for road trips to schools and community events. 

Visit bensalempolice.org to find times the bedroom will be open during the week and on weekends. Officers will be available for tours and information.