Virginia school suspends an 11-year-old for one year over a leaf that wasn’t marijuana

One day, when I was in the sixth grade, a classmate came to school with a baggie containing tea leaves from a couple of Lipton bags. He joked that it was pot. The teacher saw it, told told the kid he was stupid for doing it, and tossed the baggie in the trash. End of story. That was the 1970s. Today, a kid in Virginia brings a Japanese maple leaf to school (which has a passing resemblance to cannabis) and he gets suspended for a year.

The student, the 11-year-old son of two school teachers, had to enroll in the district's alternative education program and be homeschooled. He was evaluated by a psychiatrist for substance abuse problems, and charged with marijuana possession in juvenile court. In the months since September, he's become withdrawn, depressed, and he suffers from panic attacks. He is worried his life is over, according to his mother, and that he will never get into college.

The only problem? The "leaf" found in the student's backpack wasn't what authorities thought it was -- it tested negative for marijuana three separate times.

Virginia school suspends an 11-year-old for one year over a leaf that wasn’t marijuana