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New Missouri Law Makes School Fights A Felony Punishable By Up To 4 Years In Jail

New Missouri Law Makes School Fights A Felony Punishable By Up To 4 Years In Jail

Social media is saturated with videos of kids fighting in and out of school. A new law in Missouri focuses on the former, making it a Class E felony (which could carry a sentence of up to four years in jail) to fight in school. Before, students just faced misdemeanor charges and would be released to their parents. Now, they will be hauled off to juvenile hall and be inducted into the school-to-prison- pipeline.

According to the DailyKOS:

One of the serious issues here is that schools, by the new definitions of the law, are mandated to report any and all “first degree harassment” or fights to the authorities—if those situations arise during school hours and under a school’s jurisdiction.

Some say that this is a “deterrent” for young people, but many will see it as the opposite. Making fighting a felony doesn’t realistically promote conflict resolution. It doesn’t mean that they will be able to control themselves when emotions are running high. DailyKOS elaborates:

Violence toward others also tends to peak in adolescent years, says psychiatrist Peter Ash of Emory University. It’s mostly likely to start around age 16, and people who haven’t committed a violent crime by age 19 only rarely start doing it later, he said.

The good news here, he said, is that a violent adolescent doesn’t necessarily become a violent adult. Some two-thirds to three-quarters of violent youth grow out of it, he said. “They get more self-controlled.”

Just seems like another play to criminalize and institutionalize the youth.

Read here about “seclusion rooms” being used in Iowa schools. 

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