A young man is facing serious trouble after a school resource officer claims that he stole a carton of milk from the school's cafeteria. The case has received widespread attention, and ties in with the current national dialogue about police involvement with people of color. The story has many parents in Virginia and elsewhere concerned about the role of police in the school setting, and about whether their own child could face accusations of juvenile crimes for seemingly minor offenses.
The matter centers on a 15-year-old African-American boy who took a second spin through the lunch line and grabbed a carton of milk. The boy is eligible for free lunch through the school's nutrition program, and says that he forgot to pick up his milk (which comes with the lunch at no extra charge) when he picked up his tray of food. After he went back to the serving area of the cafeteria and picked up the milk, he returned to his table and sat down.
The school's resource officer came over and allegedly grabbed the child by the back of his neck. He asked the student why he took the milk, at which point the student threw the milk and pushed back from the officer's grasp. At that point, the officer told the student that they were going to go talk to the principal to discuss the matter, and the student allegedly refused and pushed past the resource officer in an attempt to leave the area.
The 15-year-old Virginia student has been charged with juvenile crimes, including creating a public disturbance and larceny. If he is unable to avoid conviction, he could end up with a criminal record. His family and their legal team feels that the case has more to do with how a young black man is perceived by the police than a 65 cent carton of milk.
Source: wtop.com, "Va. teen charged with stealing 65-cent milk carton", Megan Cloherty, Sept. 30, 2016