Parents angry over McDonald’s closing their lobby during Athens High School dismissal

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ATHENS, Ala. - Each school day around 3:00 in the afternoon, the McDonald's on Highway 31 in Athens locks the doors to their lobby.

“My son had come in and said a while ago, McDonald’s was closed everyday from 3-4 p.m.," said Michael Sales, a concerned Athens High parent.

They lock the doors, not because of a lack of business, but because of some business they want no part of.

“Because of a fight, no students were allowed on the grounds of McDonald’s and no one was allowed to even go inside. Inside was closed, you had to use drive-thru only," said Sales.

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson confirmed, McDonald's has had problems with the high school students for months now. So much so, he's sent on-duty officers through the restaurant a few times, and said McDonald's even hired an off-duty officer to patrol the parking lot for a few weeks.

Sales acknowledged some of those students were likely not paying customers, and causing problems.

“A lot of students use it for a pickup," he said.

But he stressed, not all of the students are disruptive.

“Some students even go there to use the wi-fi, the free internet because they don’t have any at home," explained Sales.

He says a big reason why students flock to the "Golden Arches", is because Athens City Schools is one of the few districts in the area that doesn't offer school bus services for high schoolers.

“After school there’s a long line here in the car line," said Sales.

Athens City Schools sent us a statement saying, "The school's principal made an announcement and said it's not a child care service. If you want to eat that's fine, but not to just hang out."

While Sales understands McDonald's has a business to run, he doesn't think it's fair for all customers to pay the price.

“I feel like other citizens of Athens should be able to use McDonald’s at any time," said Sales.

A representative for Athens City Schools tells us the high school has reached out to the manager of McDonald's, in an effort to see if the restaurant is still having issues.

Both WHNT News 19 and Michael Sales attempted to contact McDonald's corporate office Thursday, but so far, they haven't replied to our questions.