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Council Bluffs parents call for increased safety at The Hub

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 3:33 AM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Council Bluffs parents are demanding accountability from the owners of The Hub, a popular recreation center.

In a 6 On Your Side investigation, 6 News uncovered a pattern of violence the owners blame on the pandemic.

The Hub’s large facility in downtown Council Bluffs is hard to miss.

“We had just you know heard following their Facebook page that they have this ‘Glow Night’ on Saturday nights,” a mom of an 11-year-old told 6 News on the condition of anonymity.

The Glow Nights are advertised as a weekly night of cosmic fun, now for kids ages 10 and up. The mom told 6 News she dropped her daughter off at 9 p.m. on March 13.

“When I walked in early on, it looked busy but nothing overwhelming,” the mom said.

But later that night, everything changed.

“A couple of hours later, I get a call from her, and she’s crying, saying some girl hit her,” the mother said.

According to a report from Council Bluffs Police, the girl who hit her daughter is only 12 and was arrested for disorderly conduct.

“My daughter tried to run away and the girl, like, pushed her down and then jumped on top of her and started pounding on her,” the victim’s mom said.

The mother says the fight left her 11-year-old with a concussion and deep bruises on her arm.

“That’s my daughter, and no one helped her, and there was not one adult,” the mom said.

Mike Green says his 15-year-old son had a similar experience at a recent Glow Night and won’t go back.

“They went in to use the restroom, I guess there were some upperclassmen in there and they were smoking and drinking in the bathroom,” Green said.

Green tells 6 News his son started to walk out but the older kids followed.

“And it comes down at one point that one of them was pushing my son around,” Green says.

The father tells 6 News his son couldn’t find an adult employee to help him.

6 News found since the first of the year, five police reports have been filed at The Hub’s location, three for assaults, one for a disturbance, and the fifth for disorderly conduct.

Owner Brooke Hubbard says the pandemic is to blame.

“We did Glow Nights prior to COVID, we had really great success,” Hubbard said. “We had a lot of kids coming to them, we ran it similar to how we run it now and had zero problems. We didn’t have, you know kids trying to meet you know, to fight or to cause problems.”

In the past three weeks, Hubbard says they’ve added additional security to The Hub on Glow Nights. She provided us with several security videos of the interior, in one you can see at least two hired security staff in neon shirts, as well as an off-duty police officer.

They’re also taking steps to ban kids who break rules.

“I know that we have banned, I would say for March’s number, probably 50 or 60 kids,” Hubbard said.

The mother of the 11-year-old who was assaulted thinks more needs to be done.

“I think the owner is working on ways to make it better. But I feel like honestly, it needs to be, Saturday nights need to be shut down for you know a few weeks,” the mom said.

Hubbard says they plan to continue banning kids who start problems and hopes their increased security will make Glow Nights at The Hub safe for kids and teens in Council Bluffs.

Hubbard added parents are also encouraged to stay during Glow Nights so they can provide extra eyes on the kids.

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