School Ruins 6th Grader's Life For Having Leaf That Looked Like Marijuana In His Backpack

maple leaf

It looks bad at first glance: After searching the bag of an 11-year-old, administrators at Bedford Middle School in Virginia found a lighter and a single leaf that looked like marijuana. They suspended the boy for a year ... only tests revealed that the leaf wasn't marijuana. Still, the suspension stood.


Er, doesn't that seem a bit harsh? The suspended student's parents sure think so, and have filed a lawsuit against the school. But the school defends its actions, claiming they treat possession of real drugs and "imitation" ones the same.

Er, why would kids use an imitation drug?  And even if they were snorting powdered sugar "cocaine," should that really carry the same penalty as the real thing and get a kid kicked out of school for a full year?

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Now, maybe this kid thought this leaf was marijuana and was going to try to smoke it. But even if that's true, that's not the same as possession of an illegal substance. It's just a kid being, well, a kid! 

Let's face it: Children make a lot of dumb mistakes when they're young, and to suspend a kid for a year off is a long time. What kind of message do you think this sends to them when the punishment doesn't fit the crime? That adults can't be trusted to do the right thing. And then what? How do you make that kid listen to adults ever again?

I just hope this kid's tiny mistake doesn't send him down the wrong path, permanently. A year-long suspension for a possession of a harmless leaf could very well do that.

How do you feel about this suspension?


Image via KPG Payless2/shutterstock

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