A sixth-grader at Bedford Middle School in Virginia was recently suspended for one year and charged with marijuana possession because he had a leaf from a tree in his bookbag. The 11-year-old boy, an honor student and the son of two teachers, has become depressed and scared that he will never be able to get into college, all because teachers and the town’s police don’t know the difference between a leaf from a tree and a marijuana plant.
After the initial charges were placed, the leaf tested negative for marijuana on three different occasions but the damage had already been done. To make matters even worse, the school is refusing to lift the suspension and is accusing him of “misrepresenting” the leaf as a marijuana leaf.
Now, the young boy is forced to go to another school and is under strict probation that requires him to be searched for drugs at the beginning and end of each school day.
According to the school, the boy was telling his classmates that the leaf was marijuana, but him and his parents deny that accusation, saying that the leaf was placed there by another student.
“Essentially they kicked him out of school for something they couldn’t prove he did,” Melvin Williams, the family’s lawyer told the Roanoke Times.
“The field test came back not inconclusive, but negative, yet she went to a magistrate and swore he possessed marijuana at school,” Williams added.
Now more than ever, public schools are prisons where children run the risk of punishment, humiliation or even arrest for simple and average things that all kids do.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.
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