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6th Grader Suspended For A Year Due To A Leaf That Looked Like Marijuana


balloon marijuana leafWhen I was in middle school, I took an art class as an elective. One of my first assignments in the class was to draw a leaf and color it in with colored pencils. Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ was the most popular album at the time, and the CD had a huge marijuana leaf on it. Naturally, that was the leaf that I picked to draw in my class. That proved to be an unwise decision, as I got in trouble for it. Looking back, maybe that wasn’t the best decision.

I read a story yesterday about a sixth grader in Virginia who was suspended for a marijuana leaf. Kind of. The kid in question had a leaf that looked like a marijuana leaf, but it actually wasn’t. Per the Huffington Post:

The unidentified 11-year-old, a student in a gifted and talented program at Bedford Middle School until the leaf was found in September, was forced to enroll in an alternative education program for troubled students and take classes at home. The county sheriff charged him with juvenile marijuana possession.

It turned out that the leaf, whatever it was, was definitely not marijuana. It tested negative three times. The sheriff’s office dropped the marijuana charges and the boy was allowed to return to school — albeit a different one — beginning Monday.

But the boy’s parents, both teachers, say their normally cheerful son has become withdrawn and now suffers from panic attacks, depression and is concerned he’ll never get into college. The boy’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district, as well as the county sheriff’s office, alleging violations of their son’s right to due process and malicious prosecution.

Reefer madness is alive and well in Virginia apparently. The school, and local Sheriff’s office, hate marijuana so much that they jumped to conclusions as fast as they could, and have potentially scarred this poor kid for the rest of his life. Being charged with a crime before anything is proven is a horrible thing. That’s a traumatic scenario to go through when you didn’t do anything wrong. I hope his parents win their lawsuit.


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Johnny Green


  1. Are you sure it wasn’t an Ohio State Buckeye leaf? It reminds me of this embarrassment from Tennessee:

    Elderly couple pulled over after their Buckeye car decal is mistaken for a marijuana leaf

    Apparently Ohio State – and college football in general – isn’t very popular in the state of Tennessee.

    At least not with the police.

    Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni, 65, and her husband were driving home to Plano, Texas from Columbus after attending her mother-in-law’s funeral when a pair of black police SUV’s stopped the couple a few miles outside of Memphis.

    “Knowing I wasn’t speeding, I couldn’t imagine why,” Jonas-Boggioni told the Columbus Dispatch. “They were very serious. They had the body armor and the guns.”

    On the back of Jonas-Boggioni’s car was a Buckeye leaf decal, similar to the one players’ have on their helmets, and cops mistakenly thought it was marijuana leaf.

    Yes, really.

    “What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” one of the cops asked Jonas-Boggioni.

    After trying to explain that the sticker was not a marijuana leaf and that she and her husband were not trafficking drugs cross-country, the police advised Jonas-Boggioni to remove the sticker as to not cause any more

    You know, just in case there were any other moronic drug cops out there that didn’t actually know what a marijuana leaf looked like.

    [Jonas-Boggioni] was too rattled to notice what police department the officers represented. But she suspects that a joint
    drug-interdiction effort was under way because they had passed several law-enforcement vehicles from different agencies.

    Neither the Tennessee Highway Patrol nor the Shelby County sheriff’s office in Memphis had information about the traffic stop. A marijuana sticker would not be a sufficient reason to stop a car, said a spokeswoman for the West Tennessee Drug Task Force.

    Regardless, Tennessee police apparently aren’t botany experts. If they were, they’d know a marijuana leaf has seven leaflets and a narrow shape as compared to the Buckeye leaf, which is fat and has five leaflets.

    At least that’s what it says on the Internet. I have no firsthand knowledge of this.

    As for Jonas-Boggioni, she acknowledged the cop’s wishes, but got back in her car without removing the sticker.

    “I didn’t take it off,” Jonas-Boggioni told the paper. “This little old lady is no drug dealer.”

    Just an avid Ohio State fan.

  2. “…let the states handle their own schooling.”
    that would be an incredibly bad idea, and unfair to students in the (mostly “red”)states that would ban evolution in the classroom, whitewash the “bad” American history, and water down academic requirements in order to make their schools look good due to so many students having high GPAs.

  3. ĐΣFΣCŦΣĐ on

    Homeschooling can save a person pain and suffering. Everything at home feels like a community, who truly cares for you.

  4. Jean Anne Lewis on

    I’m so sorry for what this boy and his parents had to endure. What a dumb ass sheriff if he can’t tell a marijuana leaf from a just any ole leaf. I wish the family The Best Of Luck. Please, keep us posted on the outcome of this suit, Johnny.

  5. Whyiowa4medical on

    You sound as though you had a very good education!!! If it was due to “bad behavior” incident, it sounds as though things worked out for the best!!! I am impressed with your parents as well as your own creativity!!!

  6. Whyiowa4medical on

    It is a good thing it wasn’t a False Aurelia leaf!!! The poor kid would be in jail and probably be sentenced to Juvenile prison!!! The similarity of this common houseplant is identical to a sativa in its leaf structure, except that the houseplant has a thinner leaf structure. This is the only difference except that its flowering is not obvious, so it never produces colas, trichomes, or any sort of psychoactive substance!!!! My gods, when I was in high school I kept a mini-bong in my locker and would have a hit when I would take a piss break during certain classes. Myself and four friends once got some “Windowpane” over the weekend and discovered one of our teachers playing drums in a band at the Ramada Inn. His eyes were very distinctly dilated and when he discovered we had the same thing he did; we smoked a joint with him during a break in their sets. We got some pretty darn good grades in his media class!!! Today, I hope they were honestly deserved!!! This world is going crazy over a harmless substance!!!

  7. ĐΣFΣCŦΣĐ on

    I was able to catch up because my parents pulled me from public schooling! Home schooled with the community. In the neighborhood a retired teacher was willing to teach. All we needed was books and respect when she taught. This teacher went out of her way and sat down with us. She made sure we understood everything. If a person in the class was struggling, we cared for the individual.

  8. On the other hand – Will the student that drew “The Marlboro Man” on his horse with a cigarette sticking out of his mouth and a bottle of Jack in his hand – please come forward to accept your award.

  9. Treating it like this yet it’s HEALTHIER and overall BETTER than Alcohol, which is LEGAL.

  10. time to end the cash cow PUBLIC EDUCATION..and let the states handle their own schooling. Fact is: if you have kids, you need to keep them OUT of the Pubic schools

  11. you don’t REALLY expect common sense in a PUBLIC school adminsitrator do you? Wouldn’t it be great if the administrator’s name was published?

  12. It was a Japanese maple leaf, the kid has been allowed back in school, but he gets searched everyday when he gets to school & when he leaves at the end of the day. All because these idiots can’t tell a maple leaf from a pot leaf, but that’s how we do things in america guilty even when proven innocent

  13. ĐΣFΣCŦΣĐ on

    This is getting out of hand. You can’t make your hands look like a gun, and now schools can ruin your life over a herbal plant that is known to kill 0.

    I’ve lost one year in middle school ! Catching up was awful !! You feel humiliated by your peers, In the name of higher learning. Teacher thought I was making funny faces at him, but that was not the case. My eyes produced spasm issues, that was later resolved. Unfortunately a little too late.

  14. Patrick Star on

    Another case where Marijuana prohibition is destroying lives this needs to stop now it is totally rediculous people and children not hurting anyone is having they’re lives destroyed because of someone’s opinion

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