Virginia school suspends an 11-year-old for one year over a leaf that wasn’t marijuana

Washington Post – by Christopher Ingraham

Earlier this school year, a sixth-grader in the gifted-and-talented program at Bedford Middle School in Bedford, Virginia was suspended for one year after an assistant principal found something that looked like a marijuana leaf in his backpack.

The student, the 11-year-old son of two school teachers, had to enroll in the district’s alternative education program and be homeschooled. He was evaluated by a psychiatrist for substance abuse problems, and charged with marijuana possession in juvenile court. In the months since September, he’s become withdrawn, depressed, and he suffers from panic attacks. He is worried his life is over, according to his mother, and that he will never get into college.  

The only problem? The “leaf” found in the student’s backpack wasn’t what authorities thought it was — it tested negative for marijuana three separate times.

All of this is laid out in detail by Dan Casey in a column in the Roanoke Times today. While the juvenile court dropped its case against the student after the tests turned up negative, the school system, in a community located midway between Roanoke and Lynchburg, has been far less forgiving. That’s because stringent anti-drug policies in school districts in Virginia and elsewhere consider “imitation” drugs to be identical to real ones for disciplinary purposes.

The school’s lawyer, Jim Guynn, is quoted in the Roanoke Times article defending the policy on the basis that “it’s a pretty standard policy across the Commonwealth.” In 2011, for instance, four seventh-graders in Chesapeake, Virginia were suspended over bringing a bag of oregano to school. A quick Google search suggests similar policies are in effect in many other states as well.

It doesn’t matter if your son or daughter brings a real pot leaf to school, or if he brings something that looks like a pot leaf — okra, tomato, maple, buckeye, etc. If your kid calls it marijuana as a joke, or if another kid thinks it might be marijuana, that’s grounds for expulsion.

6 thoughts on “Virginia school suspends an 11-year-old for one year over a leaf that wasn’t marijuana

  1. “Here the truth is not a defense” seems to be an accepted jewish dodge in more and more places now. IF I BELIEVE A THING IS A DIFFERENT THING THEN YOU ARE GUILTY BECAUSE OF MY FAULTY BELIEFS! Is it time to rid ourselves of these 5 watt criminals yet?

  2. They did the kid a favor kicking him out of their crappy system. He’ll be better off in the long run for being home schooled once the whole thing blows over.

  3. It’s not about right or wrong, marijuana or not; It’s about teaching kids to obey and fear authority.

    “….he’s become withdrawn, depressed, and he suffers from panic attacks. He is worried his life is over,…..” (sounds to me like there’s a lawsuit in the works, and I hope they bankrupt the whole goddamn school system)

    1. As George Carlin would say..They want “Obedient workers”! Thank God the kid didn’t have an empty bong in his backpack.
      There would have been at least three order followers on top of him.
      Stop resisting…Stop resisting.
      You weed smoking domestic terrorist!
      FU order followers. UR the domestic terrorists.
      Make no mistake about it!!!! Killer clowns.

  4. “… or if another kid thinks it might be marijuana, that’s grounds for expulsion.”

    Insanity abounds!

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