D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - A national controversy over a restaurant's refusal to serve young children has tongues wagging right here in South Mississippi. The owner of a Pennsylvania establishment said soon kids under six years old won't be welcome because they are too noisy, and he gets too many complaints from patrons.
At a D'Iberville eatery, parents talked about the ban. Maggie Curtindale said although taking two-year-old Parker and four-month-old Mary Claire out to eat can get very chaotic at times, she can't imagine a restaurant turning away her little ones.
"I just think that's crazy because I mean we want to go out to eat as a family," said Curtindale "We don't want to always get a sitter."
A Pennsylvania restaurant owner said he's banning kids under age six because of noise complaints, but some South Mississippi parents say the policy is in bad taste.
Tessy Lambert, a parent of a three-year-old, said, "If some place said we're not going to allow your young child to come, we wouldn't go there. I don't think I would go there without the child."
"If anybody has ever been a mother or a father, they should show compassion and understand that kids are kids and they are going to make noise,"said Curtindale. "It's not our fault they're acting like that. It's not because we're not disciplining them. They're wild and free and fun and full of life."
Another restaurant patron, Kristisha Sajway, said the ban was unfair.
"I don't feel that that's right. They shouldn't discriminate. It's the parents' responsibility to discipline and choose. Not the restaurants."
However, some parents said they understand that some places are not appropriate for young children.
Stephanie Swinford said, "I'm a mother of an almost four-year-old. If I'm going into a fine dining establishment with tablecloths, fine linens and paying $100 or $150 for a meal, I might not want a two-year-old or something next to me jumping up and down on the table or screaming or crying which is something a toddler is going to do. If I'm there in that aspect eating that expensive food, I wouldn't want that. "
Some parents said instead of bans, the restaurant should try to give out crayons and activity books to help keep the kids occupied.