However, a state lawmaker says that the statute is being mischaracterized and does not spur significant change.
As the school district explains, under the statute, “if two students are fighting and one child is injured, the student who caused the injury may be charged with a felony. Student(s) who are caught fighting in school, bus or on school grounds may now be charged with a felony (no matter the age or grade level), if this assault is witnessed by one of the School Resource Officers/police officers (SRO) or if the SRO/local law enforcement officials have to intervene.”
Gone are the days when teachers broke up fights and sent the kids home, calling the parents and perhaps suspending the kid if it was a serious incident. “School Resource Officers” or local cops now arrest the kids and, if there is any perceived injury (an arbitrary judgment), will charge them with third-degree assault – treating children cooped up in school as if they are violent adults on the streets. Even attempts or threats to cause harm will be treated as a Class A misdemeanor, which can bring up to a year of prison time. If the assaulted person is considered a “special victim,” a Class D felony can be imposed which can mean up to seven years in prison, reports The Free Thought Project.
It is already documented that Missouri treats its students of color with abnormal brutality: at the elementary school level, Missouri had the largest gap in the country between the percentage of white and black students who get suspended, and the new law would only worsen the situation, helping further perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline.