A 14-year-old girl may be charged with assault and battery after she threw a baby carrot at a former teacher and hit her in the forehead. The girl has been suspended from school for almost a month.
The incident happened at George H. Moody Middle School in Virginia. The student, 14-year-old Aliya Nigro, told the local news station that she saw a former teacher in the hall and as a joke tossed a carrot in her direction. She claims she didn’t realize it would hit her. Her mom, Karrie May, appeared on the news to talk about the charges:
“I don’t even know how to combat the stupidity. I don’t understand this,” May said. “Yes, it happened, and I can see a couple of days in school detention or even a couple days out-of-school suspension. But this goes way beyond that. We have to go to court, and her charges aren’t small: assault and battery with a weapon.”
According to the news station’s legal expert, “you don’t have to have an injury or show you were hurt to prove a battery. It just has to be an offensive, vindictive touch. That’s what the law says.”
May showed the station a diversion offer letter the court sent her. It reads, “At this time, our agency would like to offer Aliya the opportunity to have this case diverted from court.” A diversion requires an admission of guilt, but it also enables offenders to avoid criminal charges and a criminal record. May declined.
The Daily Beast has a copy of the statement from Aliya’s French teacher, Michele Crowley. The statement says, “I was struck on the forehead with a raw carrot quite forcefully. Due to the force with which it was thrown, I asked that the surveillance video for the hallway be reviewed, as it seemed intentional.”
Nigro told The Daily Beast, “They looked at the footage, and saw I’d tossed it. About an hour later, I was finally told I was getting suspended…They haven’t said when I’m coming back…I liked [Mrs. Crowley] as a teacher; I was not good at French whatsoever…We didn’t argue, she always gave me second chances.”
All sides are being ridiculous here: a school keeping a student away from class for nearly a month for tossing a vegetable, and a mom who is going on the local news saying absolutely nothing about her daughter’s behavior. Is a baby carrot a weapon? It would be a stretch to say “yes.” Is an assault and battery charge for tossing a carrot a little extreme? Probably. The school is clearly trying to set a zero tolerance example — but this just seems extreme. So does a teacher going forward with pursuing an assault and battery charge.
If the child has really been out of school for a month over this — that’s absurd. Both sides can be handling this better: mom, by admitting her daughter’s behavior is absolutely not okay and the teacher and school by getting a grip and realizing no one was hurt. Making excuses for your child’s bad behavior is not okay. But is the behavior bad enough to warrant a battery charge?
What a mess.