LAYTON, Utah (AP) -- The owner of four Taco Time restaurants is barring high school students from entering his Layton restaurant for lunch. But they can buy at the drive-through and eat outside.
Restaurant owner Eric Dickson said sales have increased 30 percent since he instituted the policy.
Michelle Taylor she said she and her friends were refused service Monday because they are high school students. She said they were told they weren't allowed inside but could go through the drive-through.
"It's ridiculous," Taylor said. "It makes me feel so angry. It's discrimination all around."
Dickson said students were rowdy and were ill-mannered to other customers.
He said they were involved in food fights, yelling, throwing away trays and taking up at least half of his 11 tables for the lunch rush.
Over the last three years, he has had to ask about five students to never return and has had to throw out at least three to five groups of students each year, he said.
"They should be able to be responsible," he said. "I don't have the resources to police their behavior."
The policy now is that students are not allowed into the restaurant between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but they can get food at the drive-through and eat at one of four outside tables.
Students are allowed in his other three restaurants because he hasn't had any problems there, he said.
Though Dickson said the policy went into place last year, Layton students said this was the first time they were told they couldn't enter.
Dee Burton, Layton High School assistant principal, said the first he heard of the situation was Monday when a parent called to complain. He said the student who was refused service is someone who doesn't cause trouble.
"About 99 percent of our students are great," he said. "They are putting an unfair label on a 1,700-plus student body."
However, he said there is nothing he can do about it.
"That's their business," Burton said. "We can't force them to allow our kids to go there. I'm sure our students can take their business elsewhere."
Jim Anderson, owner of Clearfield Taco Time, said students are welcome at his restaurant.
"They'll get loud and pushy, especially the jocks. But they're customers," he said.
The Burger King in Layton also welcomes teens.
"I haven't had any problems with them," said Janina Morrison, general manager of the Layton store. "We get a lot of school kids here."
Taylor wants to see the Layton Taco Time change its policy, but she said she won't be returning there.
"I want our rights back, but I won't go back because they turned me away," she said.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)