When schools around the country began to crack down on elementary school students who pretended to use their forefingers as guns, it should have been clear we were in for a bumpy ride. You may therefore want to fasten your seatbelt before reading about a new statute in the state of Missouri that revises the punishment for children who get into physical fights.
If you have a child heading back to grade school after the holiday break, the rules on fighting are getting stricter.
There’s a new statute going into effect starting January 1, 2017 that ups the punishment when students get into a fight.
The change means that if your student is caught fighting once they return back to school, they will get jail time.
Under the new law, children who violate this zero-tolerance policy will be charged with a Class E felony and sent to a juvenile detention center. This rule, moreover, applies to all students, no matter the grade level or age.
So what exactly constitutes a fight? The statute, specifics of which are addressed here, doesn’t say. It is more definitive about what constitutes physical injury, but even then only slightly so. Ultimately, decisions about who is the more flagrant offender seem to be up to the teacher or administrator. Can a kindergartner who pushes a classmate during play be charged with assault in the third degree? I see nothing in the law to suggest he can’t.