An unidentified 11-year-old, 6th-grade student from Bedford Middle School in Virginia was suspended for a year and criminally charged after a leaf was found on his person.
Now, six months later, during the boy’s hearing, it was revealed that officials knew the leaf wasn’t marijuana and proceeded with the prosecution anyway, despite three negative field tests.
The boy was accused by his schoolmates of bragging he had marijuana. After being taken to the principle’s office, administrators found a crumpled up leaf in his backpack.
The sixth-grader was immediately suspended for a year and charged with marijuana possession.
The boy’s father questioned Bedford’s assistant principal during the juvenial trial. “During the hearing I asked Wilson, ‘What about the field test on the marijuana leaf?'” the man said. “[After avoiding the question,] finally he got around to it and said ‘I’m not qualified to interpret the results of the field test.'”
After continuing to demand answers, it was revealed that the field tests conducted on the alleged marijuana leaf came back negative three times.
The family has now filed a lawsuit against the school and the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office for ‘malicious prosecution.’
“The field test came back not inconclusive, but negative,” family attorney, Melvin Williams said. “Yet [the school resource officer] went to a magistrate and swore he possessed marijuana at school.”
School and police officials point to a school policy they say justifies their actions and have urged the civil proceedings against them be thrown out.
That policy states:
“The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, use or being under the influence of alcohol, anabolic steroids, or any narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana or other controlled substance … [or] imitation controlled substances or drug paraphernalia while on school property, while going to and from school, or while engaged in or attending any school-sponsored or school approved activity or event, is prohibited, and will result in an automatic recommendation of expulsion.”
This rationalization seems facetious at best however, as the policy does not identify what an ‘imitation controlled substance’ is.
Applying a policy obviously designed to address synthetic drug use of substances like bath salts and synthetic marijuana does not justify suspending and criminally charging an 11-year-old because school administrators were, at best, too dense to identify a marijuana leaf.
By this logic, a student need only call ANYTHING a drug to be sanctioned.