Today in ridiculous: a kid who took a free milk will face charges in court

The US is currently embroiled in a major conversation about police brutality and entrenched racism in the justice system. While the major cases of police shootings dominate the news, it’s also important to remember that injustice begins at a much smaller level. For instance, a young man who took a free milk will face charges in court even though he was enrolled in a free lunch program.

Ryan Turk, 14, took milk from the free lunch line at Virginia’s Graham Park Middle School in May. He was part of the federal free lunch program that allowed low income students to get a good meal. And we all know how hard it is to work on an empty stomach.

According to Ryan, he forgot to get the milk on his first trip on the line so he went back and picked it up, but a school resource officer decided this wasn’t acceptable. Ryan was taken to the principal’s office, and unfortunately, the teen was then charged with disorderly conduct and petit larceny over the 65 cent drink (which again, should have been free for him to take.)

And now he has a court date in late November.


Ryan’s lawyer, Emmet Robinson, told The Washington Post, that he believes the situation escalated due to entrenched racism, even though the principal and resource officer involved are also black.

“It’s not the players, it’s not the people who discriminate; it’s the whole system, Robinson said.  “The system is set up now so that school resource officers get to determine the impact on a person’s life.

Robinson also shared that he thinks it’s a major flaw in the system when minor school incidents are treated like arrest-worthy crimes.

“No one needs to be punished for stealing a 65-cent carton of milk...This officer treats kids like they’re criminals, and guess what happens — they’re going to become criminals.

Let’s hope justice prevails at Ryan’s trial and his future is not impacted by what certainly seemed to be a very minor incident blown way out of proportion.