High Schoolers Are Facing Criminal Charges For a Food Fight

In Depth

Today in “wait, seriously?” news, eight high schoolers in Lebanon, TN are facing misdemeanor criminal charges for their involvement in a cafeteria food fight. No, seriously.

On Friday, during Taco Day (which somehow makes this about 40% funnier, although I’m not sure why), two School Resource Officers assigned to the school received word a food fight was going to go down, and got control of the situation after only a few minutes of ballistic taco mayhem (if anyone wants that for a band name, you’re welcome). Being that SRO’s are given laughably broad jurisdictional powers to charge students as criminals based on pretty much their whims, they were then, depressingly, fully within their rights to give them misdemeanor citations. I mean, that makes sense, though. Just look at those tacos up at the top of this article, pregnant with malice. They’ll turn on you in a heartbeat if you don’t keep a watchful eye on them. Truly, they are the deadliest of culinary weapons.

Look, suspensions would obviously make sense. Hell, if it was REALLY egregious in some way that hasn’t yet been made clear, I could even understand expulsions. But criminal charges?! That’s ludicrous. The quotes from Sheriff Robert Bryan read like a “YOU DAMNED KIDS” angry-Clint-Eastwood-on-his-front-lawn-with-a-shotgun screed:

“There are probably more charges to come,” Bryan said. “We are reviewing surveillance video. When it started, the majority of the students backed off, but these students continued to throw food.”

“There are probably more charges to come.” For a fucking food fight. This guy also refers to the students as “four adult” and “four juvenile” students, as if the fact that four of them are 18 should make them more guilty of the heinous misdemeanor of slinging salsa and eggs.

Again, they should face school discipline (as the school has indicated they will, once the charges are worked out), but involving criminal charges in a case like this is so batshit absurd that I have trouble rationalizing it. This, by the way, is what happens when we start to treat high schoolers as criminals waiting to happen and respond to the increasing violence of our culture with shit like School Resource Officers: we criminalize non-criminal acts past the point of absurdity. School Resource Officers, as they currently exist, are drunk on their own power, and this shit has gotten way past ridiculous.

Image via Lesya Dolyuk/Shutterstock.

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