Free lunch-eligible teen to stand trial for allegedly stealing 65-cent milk

DUMFRIES, Va. – A teenage boy on his school’s free lunch program has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly stealing a 65-cent carton of milk from the cafeteria, reports the Washington Post.

On May 10, Ryan Turk, then 14, went back to the lunch line at Graham Park Middle School in Dumfries, Va. to get milk because he had forgotten it his first time through the line, according to the paper. He and his mother Shamise Turk say he was entitled to the milk as part of the free lunch program.

Police reportedly said that the boy became disorderly when an officer accused him of stealing the milk. He was placed in handcuffs and, the teen admits, he “yanked away” from the officer, CBS affiliate WTVR reported soon after the incident.

The teen was taken to the principal’s office and searched for drugs, his mother said, and later charged with larceny.

“This is ridiculous... this is beyond embarrassing... he’s at home for 65 cents,” Shamise Turk told the station. “I’m angry, I’m frustrated, I’m mad. It just went too far. They are charging him with larceny, which I don’t have no understanding as to why he is being charged with larceny when he was entitled to that milk from the beginning.”

Police reportedly said the larceny charge was because Ryan Turk tried to “conceal” the milk, a claim his mother denied.

The charges initially were going to be handled non-judicially through a diversion program, the Post reports, but the family says they turned down that option because they want to prove their son is innocent. 

The school spokesperson told the station that the boy was suspended for theft, being disrespectful and using his cell phone in 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.”

A Prince William County judge reportedly set a trial date in November. 

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