The Jim Crow action occurred after owner Gerald Harrington was assaulted during an in-store brawl of about fifty 'teens.'
The mob descended on the home of 365black shortly after the local high schools and middle schools were dismissed. As thousands of village-raised 'teens' flooded the streets, some found their way the Harrington's store.
Jim Crow laws in the South managed ratchet behavior by segregating black and whites. Some store owners protected themselves and patrons by refusing to allow blacks on the premises, with exceptions.
The Altoona McDonalds is doing the same. However, rather than banning all blacks the store is banning all teens. The purpose is the same: To manage black rascality.
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Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun won’t be served at a Central Pennsylvania restaurant to kids under 18 — unless they’re with an adult.
McDonald’s franchise owners Gerald and Heather Harrington dished out the directive days after Mr. Harrington was assaulted during a brawl with up to 50 teens, four of whom were charged by Altoona police.
Signs informing patrons of the policy went up on the store’s doors earlier this week, and employees are doing visual checks, but not asking for ID, Mrs. Harrington said.
“We’re evaluating it day to day,” she said. “We hope that it’s going to be a temporary thing.”
Police were called to the Station Medical Center McDonald’s about 3:10 p.m. last Thursday, shortly after dismissals from the Altoona middle and high schools, which are about two blocks from the restaurant.
A day earlier, there had been a small disturbance, so when students approached the McDonald’s, 1500 9th Ave., employees locked the doors, Mrs. Harrington said.
“A few patrons were refusing to leave, and it devolved into somewhat of a melee,” Altoona police Lt. Jeffrey Pratt said.
During the scuffle, Mr. Harrington’s phone was knocked from his hand, and he was tackled to the ground and assaulted, Lt. Pratt said.
Four juveniles — whose ages and names were not released — were taken into custody and charged with simple assault, harassment, stalking and defiant trespass, Lt. Pratt said.
Mrs. Harrington said her husband is doing OK now.
Police haven’t been called to enforce the ban, and the lieutenant said that as a private establishment, the owners can set rules of use.
“I can understand the owners’ concerns at this point in time,” Lt. Pratt said. “Juveniles, more or less, went to that location and took over without being paying customers.”
McDonald’s, which could not be reached for comment, has offered resources to the franchise, Mrs. Harrington said, but didn’t have to approve the policy. The couple own three more McDonald’s in Huntingdon, Mount Union and Altoona.
“The bottom line is we can make the decisions ourselves,” she said.
An ACLU attorney agreed.
“There’s a question of whether it’s fair to paint all juveniles with the wrongdoing of four, but ultimately, it’s the business’ decision,” state legal director Vic Walczak said.
The policy does not violate state or federal anti-discrimination laws as long as it applies to all people under 18, regardless of gender, race or religion, he said.
Mr. Walczak said it’s similar to a ban implemented in February at the Monroeville Mall.
There, teens under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who is older than 21, on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. till the mall closes.
Stacey Keating, a spokeswoman for the mall, said the policy has been “very well-received among shoppers and retailers and very effective.”
That policy is indefinite, though the ban at the Altoona McDonald’s is likely temporary.
“It’s not something we’re happy about,” Mrs. Harrington said. “We recognize there are a lot of really good kids out there.”
Image credit: post-gazette.com ####
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