Sharon Lo Drucker

St. Tammany Parish School Board member Sharon Lo Drucker, who pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft in October, has entered a diversion program that could result in the charges against her being dropped next year.

Drucker, 53, was detained in a Walmart store in Covington on July 7 on suspicion of shoplifting, and a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office deputy arrested her. She was released on a summons for theft under $1,000. The summons did not say what she was accused of taking.

Drucker did not return a call Tuesday concerning her participation in the diversion program. She also did not return calls last year about her arrest, which took place as she was running for re-election to her District 9 seat on the School Board, representing the Madisonville area.

Her attorney entered a not-guilty plea in October. A Nov. 5 trial date was continued at the request of the defense, and a Jan. 10 date was set.

But in December, she entered a 12-month diversion program. If she successfully completes the program, the charges will be dropped. She is scheduled to appear in court in March 2020.

District Attorney Warren Montgomery said that Drucker, who has no prior arrests, met the criteria for diversion, which is aimed at first-time offenders accused of nonviolent misdemeanors.

There was internal discussion at the 22nd Judicial District Attorney's Office about whether Drucker, a public official, should be treated differently. But in the end, Montgomery said, the decision was made to "treat her as we would treat anyone else," with the exception of law enforcement officials, who Montgomery said are held to a higher standard.

The DA's Office successfully prosecuted a former Mandeville police officer last month for shoplifting a pair of batteries from a Home Depot store.

Drucker was re-elected with 69 percent of the vote in the November election. Her only opponent, Meg Good Hackney, had said prior to the election that she would be moving. Drucker was first elected to the School Board in 2014.

Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.