POLICE and the education department are investigating a series of intimidating incidents at Somerville McDonalds, following continued aggressive and disrespectful behaviour by school students.
A hand-written sign banning Somerville Secondary College students from the store was removed on Friday, two days after it was placed there by a staff member attempting to protect his staff and customers.
The McDonalds franchise was not aware of the sign or student ban at the Somerville store.
Bad behaviour by groups of young people has been an ongoing issue at the fast-food restaurant, including the throwing of food, staff being abused and spat at, and even someone allegedly defecating at the front door.
A spokesperson from McDonalds head office said the company was “working with local schools and the police” to manage antisocial behaviour from young people in the area.
She said the health and safety of staff and customers is the company’s “top priority”.
“Antisocial behaviour is not tolerated in our restaurants. We won’t accept abuse, intimidation, threats or violence towards our customers or employees,” she said.
“We are working closely with schools and the police to find a resolution and help reduce these incidents.”
Several comments on social media have backed the restaurant staff, saying the behaviour of some school students was intimidating and frightening for people who witnessed it.
One said the behaviour of young people at the restaurant kept customers away but that the “troublemakers” were from other schools.
The News believes police and school management have been called to intervene and speak to students on more than one occasion.
Police have confirmed they are working with all parties on the antisocial behaviour at the restaurant.
“Victoria Police is working alongside stakeholders, including business owners and the Department of Education to address community concerns,” a police statement reads.
“Police are undertaking additional patrols in the area involving uniform police, as well as members from the Proactive Policing Unit and youth resource officers.”
A spokesperson said that “only a small number of isolated incidents have been reported to police”. Police also confirmed that an investigation is underway into youth crime in the area.
An Education Department spokesperson said government school students were “expected to represent their school well when in the community” but declined to comment further due to the police investigation.