A Texas mother has been arrested after she impersonated her 13-year-old daughter and attended her classes for a whole day.
Casey Garcia, 30, filmed videos of herself getting dressed as a 7th grader and walking into the building of a San Elizario Independent School District campus, claiming she did it to test the security of the school.
She was arrested on charges of criminal trespass and tampering with the government, reported KWTX. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said they were alerted on 1 June after they were made aware of social media videos.
Ms Garcia can be seen in the video wearing a yellow Marvel hoodie, sneakers and a facemask along with a backpack to disguise herself as a teenager. The video was titled "Going to school as my 13yr old daughter (Middle School edition)” on YouTube.
"Do I look like a seventh-grader?" she asked in the video. "No? Cool. Awesome."
The mom claimed in the videos to have exchanged good morning greetings with the school principal and several others without being caught. She claims she continued her undercover experiment for the whole day, attending classes before being busted in the seventh period.
“I bet you anything someone else can do this... this is why I did this,” she said in the video. "This is why I did this — whether you agree with me or not."
Ms Garcia said she was impersonating her daughter Julie, and at one point in the videos she can be seen maskless in the school while eating lunch.
“I think the deal breaker for me was actually walking in and posing as a seventh-grader. I mean, I’m no spring chicken, but it wasn’t hard. And I made it to all seven periods, until the last teacher, she was female, and she said, ‘Julie, can you stay after class?’ And I said absolutely. She looked at me and she (said), ‘You’re not Julie,” she said.
She made follow-up videos, explaining it was a “social experiment” and that she did it to highlight security gaps in the context of rising mass shootings in the US.
“I’m telling you right now, we need better security at our schools," Ms Garcia said in the video. "This is what I tried to prove.
Ms Garcia complained in the video that “teachers were so preoccupied about the students who were online that they weren’t paying attention to the students who were there physically”.
The school’s superintendent Jeannie Meza-Chavez acknowledged the incident and said it was a security breach.
“While there was a breach in security by an individual associated as a parent with the school…we want to assure you that our security measures are being reviewed and evaluated,” she told KTSM.
She was released from jail on a $7,808 bond. She said after her release to the network: “I spent the day in police custody, but my question still remains: Are our children safe in our schools, Jeannie Meza-Chavez?”