AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Earlier this week, Shirelle McMillan received a concerning message from her 15-year-old son. “My son tells me he has to go to court. I said who told you have to go to court? He told me, well my coach told me I have to go to court."
When she got in touch with McNeil High School administrators, she couldn't believe what the offense was about. “’Your son went into the room and took some crackers from the teachers’ lounge and this is a citation,’” said McMillan, describing what officials told her.
McNeil staffs school resource officers from the Williamson County Sheriff's Office. They tell us the student was cited to go to teen court, because the teachers wanted to press charges.
“One of the officers said he's going to get a Class C misdemeanor for it,” said McMillan,
McMillan says her son and his friends thought it would be funny to take a small container of the crackers, and he appeared regretful after the fact. Although she does not condone her son's actions, she thinks the school could’ve handled things differently, maybe with a suspension or Saturday school.
“Police are there to protect and serve and I feel like their time could be used more wisely for other things rather than hammering kids for taking animal crackers out of a teachers’ lounge,” said McMillan.
McMillan says what she fears the most is her son, and other children being introduced to a school to prison pipeline over time. “It sounds like we are criminalizing children for something administrators could have handled,” said McMillan.
Round Rock ISD released a statement that reads:
"Maintaining safe and secure campuses, which includes enforcing the student code of conduct, is a priority in Round Rock ISD. District administration is reviewing how this incident was handled to ensure all appropriate processes and procedures were followed. The incident involved three students who all received Class C misdemeanor citations. The students were in the school building in the evening, entered an administrative office area that is restricted, and took items out of a staff lounge."