Zero tolerance for perceived micro-transgressions has apparently become a norm at schools, especially when it comes to African-American students.
A few weeks ago a little girl was handcuffed to the bottom of a staircase for taking a candy off a teacher’s desk. Another little girl was pulled out of class simply for wearing her natural hair.
Now, a middle school boy in Prince William County, Virginia, has been suspended allegedly for “stealing” milk during lunch hour.
Shamise Turk, the mother of middle-schooler Ryan, stated that her son was handcuffed, suspended from school and charged with theft over a 65-cent carton of milk from the cafeteria. The mother claims the school was wrong to do so because Ryan was on the school’s free lunch program, which offers free milk to students at lunch.
The situation started when Ryan, who attended Graham Park Middle School, went back to the lunch line for some milk. It was during that time that a Prince William County Police Officer accused the boy of trying to steal milk. According the officer, the middle school student then became “disorderly” and pulled back when the officer tried to grab him.
"I yanked away from him I told him to get off of me because he's not my dad," said Ryan.
Ryan was then sent to the principal’s office on suspicion of drugs because he was “fidgety, kept pulling on the strings of his pants, and laughing when we [police] were trying to talk to him and just wouldn't talk.”
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Ryan has now been charged of larceny because he tried to “conceal the milk”, according to the police. Turk denies the claim and Ryan will have to appear in juvenile court.
The school’s spokesperson has said Ryan was suspended for stealing, being disrespectful and using cell phone in the school.
“The need for disciplinary action is determined by how a student behaves throughout any given incident,” the school spokesperson said. "An appeals process is in place to ensure the fairness of any disciplinary action."
Yet, the school did not clarify exactly what “incident” they were talking about. If they meant taking free milk from the counter specifically placed there for the use of disadvantaged students, then it’s the police who should be placed on disciplinary action.
Due to the apparent unfairness of the school’s authorities, Ryan is unable to attend his classes. Additionally, if the charges are upheld, he will have a juvenile record that could follow him for years.