Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? It ended pretty badly, with the boy eventually being eaten by the wolf because nobody believed him when there was an actual wolf. A similar thing happened to an 11-year-old 6th grade student, only he was “The Kid Who Cried ‘WEED!”, and instead of being eaten by a wolf, he was eaten by the school system…
A 6th-grade student of Bedford Middle School was suspended for 364 days last year when administrators discovered what appeared to be a marijuana leaf and a lighter in his backpack. Police also got involved and filed drug possession charges against the 11-year-old. This sounds like a sad story of a kid doing something illegal and getting caught bringing that illegal thing into school, except it’s not. Because after NUMEROUS tests done on the leaf months after-the-fact, it turns out that it wasn’t a marijuana leaf at all. Yup. The kid got suspended for a year AND CHARGED for bringing a regular old leaf into school. It’s not clear if the boy was pranked by a friend who put the fake paraphernalia in his backpack, or if he had brought it to school himself in an attempt to claim ‘badass’ bragging rights* (*the boy and his parents deny the latter is true), but whatever the real story behind the leaf, there’s no way a child’s life should be ruined by a normal leaf and a lighter.
This is an 11-year-old kid, and I don’t know a single 11-year-old that hasn’t lied about something to brag to his friends, or had his friends prank him into getting into petty trouble. Was it a stupid thing to do? Yes, but these kids are 11, and obviously don’t realize the consequences of their actions. Which, by the way, definitely do not fit the crime. Even if the pot leaf WAS real, this poor kid’s life was completely ruined in the aftermath. He was suspended from school for a year, forced to go to drug counseling with a psychiatrist (despite never having done any kind of illegal substance in his life), and now has a number of other personal problems such as depression. That’s right. An 11-year-old is now suffering from depression, because the school and the sheriff’s department failed to realize the pot was fake until way after-the-fact. Rather than admit they made a mistake, however, school officials maintain that since “lookalike” drugs are also prohibited, the boy may still have violated district policy. Luckily the criminal charges were dropped.
The boy’s parents — both schoolteachers — have now filed a federal lawsuit against Bedford County Schools and the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. They were never allowed to examine the leaf themselves, and they’re claiming that the ordeal has caused their son a ton of trauma. I don’t blame him–If I were taking drug counseling sessions when I’d never taken a drug in my life instead of playing with my 11-YEAR-OLD-FRIENDS, I’d lose my sh*t, too.
Do you think the school should be held accountable for suspending a kid without fully investigating the actual crime they were punishing him for? Let us know in the comments!