BUSAN, Apr. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — A café in Busan is embroiled in controversy after banning teenage students from entering the establishment.
In a poster affixed to the front door, the café says that middle school and high school students are not welcome following a spate of poor behavior including swearing, speaking rudely, and spitting on the floor despite staff politely asking to stop.
The controversial policy has divided the internet, with many lending support to the café.
“I’ve seen teenagers occupy tables for a long time, swearing and smoking in the bathroom. To ban teenagers so that customers can enjoy drinking tea quietly is a business owner’s right,” one supporter of the ban said online.
Others disagreed, including Lee, a 17-year-old high school student.
“It’s discrimination to ban all young people who just want to drink their favorite drinks, only because of the few bad students,” Lee said.
Located in close proximity to a number of middle schools and high schools, the coffee franchise used to be very popular among students for its affordable beverages. However, some students would come to the café in groups, order just one drink and occupy seats for hours, according to the café.
Students and the café also clashed often over the one order per person policy, according to news reports.
It’s not the first time that a business establishment’s ban on certain groups has caused controversy in South Korea, spawning terms like ‘no kids zone’ and ‘no school zone’.
Previously, pictures of a similar poster at a nearby café in Busan drew controversy on social media, and prompted the café to immediately take the poster down.
“Instead of lumping all teenagers together and blaming them based on the deviant behavior shown by some, it is better to improve character education in society and create spaces where young people can get together safely,” said Jung Mi-young, an official at the Busan branch of the YMCA Korea.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)