Ryan Turk, then 14, gets free lunches at his Virginia school. One day, he forgot to grab milk, so went back to grab a 65 cent carton. The School Resource Officer assigned to the lunchroom accused of him of stealing and Turk, alas, did not instantly comply with the SROs orders. He might have talked back. He didn’t meekly go to the principal’s office. After all, he was supposed to be able to have a carton of milk.
Now he’s facing criminal charges. Disorderly conduct and petit larceny.
From the News & Observer:
The Virginia teenager says he had forgotten to grab the drink the first time through the line at the Graham Park Middle School cafeteria, so he headed back. A recipient of free lunches at the school, Ryan felt he was just doing what he did every day.
But a school resource officer said he spotted the teen cutting in line and accused him of stealing the 65-cent milk. When Ryan didn’t cooperate with a trip to see the principal, authorities say, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and petit larceny. Ryan turned down an offer of non-judicial punishment and, this week, a Prince William County judge set a trial date in November for the Dumfries teen, who is now a freshman in high school.
He will face the criminal charges just days after his 15th birthday.
Ryan and his mother, Shamise Turk, acknowledge that he did take a carton of milk on that day last school year, but they say he was entitled to it and did nothing wrong. They, and their lawyer, allege that Ryan was discriminated against, targeted because he is a black teenager who didn’t want to go along with a police officer who they believe was being unfair.
I, of course, see this as a classic case of the Cult of Compliance. The SRO doesn’t get compliance, so escalates.
- We need to get cops out of school.
- Until then we need to forbid SROs from intervening in issues like this.
- Until then we need to train our SROs to have common sense and not criminalize a child over milk.
- But we need to get cops out of schools.