A middle schooler in Virginia could face criminal assault charges after tossing a baby carrot at a teacher, her mother says.

Aliya May, 14, told WTVR News she was only kidding around last month when she threw a small orange carrot at a teacher she was passing in the hallway at Moody Middle School in Richmond. But school officials disagree, to say the least, and have treated the affair as very serious business.

May was suspended and hasn’t been back in school since. School officials say she effectively assaulted the teacher with a weapon; they even snapped photos of the offending carrot to log its exact size (just under two inches):

Documents show the carrot was just under 2 inches long.

A photo of Aliya May’s carrot, showing its size. (WTVR News)

Now, May has received a summons from a local court to face possible charges for assault and battery. Karrie May, Aliya’s mother, says Aliya was offered a chance to go through an out-of-court diversionary program, but they declined because it would require an admission of guilt.

“I don’t even know how to combat the stupidity of it,” Karrie told WTVR. “Yes, it happened. They would have called and said ‘She’s in trouble, she got a couple days in-school [suspension], maybe even a day or two out-of-school [suspension].’ But this has gone beyond that. We got court, [and] not small charges: assault and battery with a weapon.”

But even if the charges seem silly, they may be perfectly legally valid. Battery only requires that a person be touched in an aggressive, unwanted manner. It doesn’t necessarily require that they be physically harmed. That said, a local lawyer said a judge probably wouldn’t throw the book at May.

“This could go before a judge and there could be sufficient evidence to find her guilty, but I don’t think it’s something a judge would want to find her guilty of,” local lawyer Todd Stone said to WTVR. “They may offer her counseling, sort of a carrot at the end of a stick.”

Henrico County Public Schools has declined to comment on the case.

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