A middle school student in Triangle, Virginia was handcuffed, suspended, and charged with larceny for allegedly stealing a 65-cent carton of milk earlier this month, CBS 6 reported on Monday.
While the punishment may already feel extreme given the petty nature of the crime, it was later revealed that the student, Ryan Turk, was part of Graham Park Middle School’s free lunch program. His entire meal—including the carton of milk—was supposed to be available free of charge.
Ryan was approached by a Prince William County police officer in the cafeteria line on May 10, and, after becoming “disorderly,” was put in handcuffs.
“I yanked away from him I told him to get off of me because he's not my Dad," Ryan told CBS 6.
Ryan was then taken to the principal’s office and searched for drugs. His mother, Shamise Turk, said the search was implemented because her son was fidgeting and laughing while being questioned.
"This is ridiculous... this is beyond embarrassing... he's at home for 65 cents," Turk said. "I'm angry, I'm frustrated, I'm mad. It just went too far.”
“He was entitled to that milk from the beginning," she added.
The school says an appeal process will now take place to determine if the suspension was justified. Still, over the past year the country has become increasingly aware of the fraught relationship African-American students—like Ryan—share with in-school police officers. In 2015, an officer in South Carolina was suspended after video footage surfaced of the man violently ripping a female student out of her desk.