CHS students barred from Target


Clarion photo Cassius Geske

Cleveland students attempt to enter Target but are denied entry by security staff.

Reported instances of violence, smoking and shoplifting in and around local businesses near Cleveland has led to at least one business banning students during school hours, according to authorities.

Businesses such as Target, McDonalds, Burgerville and Starbucks have all reported such instances to Cleveland administration. Currently all students are banned from Target during school hours and selected students are banned from Starbucks at their stores along Powell Avenue, just a few blocks from campus.

Students reported being banned from Target on Tuesday, March 14. A manager at Starbucks declined to comment when contacted March 16, citing privacy. Similarly, managerial staff at Target declined to comment March 17 as well.

The ban at Target has caused an uproar among students. Students question the reason behind the ban and what action is being taken to students who instigate these acts.

“These kids that are choosing to steal from Target and other businesses are just ruining it for the rest of us. I lost my lunch a couple of days ago and tried to walk to Target to buy a salad, from which I was turned away. It really sucks what a small portion of Cleveland students are doing to the majority,” said one junior, who wished to remain anonymous.

Target’s managerial staff declined to comment on how much inventory has been lost and their policy regarding Cleveland students.

Problems with fighting, smoking, and stealing at local businesses began in the fall, and those businesses began contacting Cleveland’s administration. As a response, the vice principals walked through all the local businesses, gave them a copy of the schedule and their cell phone numbers.

“We receive regular communication whenever there’s an incident in their building that they’re aware of,” said Sean Murray, vice principal.

“So Tuesday or Wednesday (March 14, 15), Target said they wanted somebody to come down from the school. So I walked down there, and I got there and a security guard said, ‘Cleveland, we need you to make an announcement that no Cleveland students can come to the building, come to Target, at this point,’” Murray said.

Starbucks management has taken pictures of students if they are doing something like smoking in the bathroom or the lobby and shared them with the administration. After they are identified, the students and the parents are contacted to let them know what’s happening. A “group” of students have been trespassed from Starbucks due to multiple violations and are banned from Starbucks, Murray said.

While there is a group of students banned from Starbucks, the rest of the student body can still go there.

Murray said there is little the school can do to discipline students.

“If there’s something that happens at a business, we would pursue discipline with them when they come back to the building. But quite honestly, a lot of times they don’t come back in the building after something happens. So then we just communicate with parents, ‘hey, we’re aware, your student did this.’ They’ll be like, ‘you can’t prove it unless I’ve got pictures.’ And then I send the pictures to parents. And then they could be trespassed, or the business could pursue legal action,” Murray said. “But I think right now, as a city, there isn’t, you know, the idea of enforcement, and prosecution on petty crimes isn’t happening. And so these kids, because they’re acting like kids, know that, and are kind of making it worse for everybody else.”

The administration has actually asked McDonald’s to shut down their dining hall during lunch hours. “I feel like we’ve had the biggest issue because there’s just been multiple fights in which students go there not to eat food. And then they also know that there are students from other schools who frequent that McDonald’s, too,” Murray said.

Businesses are within their rights to restrict underage shoppers. There are federal laws protecting against discrimination based on race, religion, color or national origin, but there are no laws protecting against discrimination to underage students.

“Target stopped students from entering only during lunch hours, but it would appear to be all day, based on what I’ve heard from students who have gone. Basically, they’re not letting anybody school age enter without a parent. But more or less, the major reason is just a tremendous amount of shoplifting,” Murray said.