KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some Missouri school leaders are worried that a new state law might lead to felony arrests for students involved in fights and bullying, but legal and legislative officials say the concern is overblown.
The new law, part of an overhaul of a state criminal code that took effect Jan. 1, increases penalties for third-degree assaults and some cases of harassment.
Some school superintendents warned parents and their children that students could face felony charges if they fight with or bully other students. In some cases, the age of the defendant is not a factor in prosecution.
But Missouri Bar President Dana Tippin Culter says schools have always been required to report fights that cause serious injuries. She says prosecutors won’t spend time filing felony charges over minor fistfights.