When 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But the boy's parents, both teachers, say their normally cheerful son has become withdrawn and now suffers from panic attacks, depression and is concerned he'll never get into college.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.