A restaurant in North Carolina has recently been getting a lot of attention due to a policy it enacted about 6 months ago. Simply stated in bold print on normal computer paper and taped up in the restaurant are signs that proclaim, “Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!”
The owner of the establishment has said that so far this policy has actually been good for business overall, which surprises me. I’ve heard anecdotes about restaurants that have attempted to prohibit children and ended up with picketers outside their doors until they lost so much business they had to close altogether. And I don’t question that anecdotal evidence one bit, because I’ve seen far too many parents in restaurants who do nothing when their children scream or run around and bother other patrons. It’s as though they feel that the fact that they’ve born crotch fruit absolves them of any responsibility to make sure said fruit conducts themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon other people’s right to eat in peace. And it’s these type of entitled people I can easily imagine picketing a restaurant that is just trying to achieve a peaceful atmosphere for its patrons.
At this point I think it’s probably obvious that I support policies such as this in restaurants. They force irresponsible parents to take some responsibility; either by consciously choosing not to take their kids there to eat because they know they are not capable of keeping them from bothering other patrons, or by handling the behavior appropriately when it occurs.
That said, I can see how the argument could be made that a policy like this is discriminatory. There are special needs children who sometimes cannot control outbursts, and it does seem wrong to punish them. But I think that it’s highly likely that the management of the NC restaurant and any other restaurant with a policy such as this would see the need for an exception in cases like these if they’re simply made aware of the child’s condition. Not all rules are enacted by Zero Tolerance nazis who have no ability to think critically and make decisions based on the details of a situation rather than adhering rigidly to the rules.