Ramifications of Fighting at School

Ramifications of Fighting at SchoolWith increasing violence reported during and after school all over the country, Montgomery County school districts have begun adopting “zero tolerance” policies with respect to fighting and other dangerous activities that occur on school grounds.

It was once the norm for schoolyard brawls to be handled administratively, meaning detention and suspension were the worst punishments that could be expected for fighting in school. Increasingly, however, schools and
parents are choosing to involve the police and prosecutors in these matters, and that can have long-term ramifications for students involved. It is not at all uncommon now for a fight at school to result in charges being filed in Juvenile Court against any student caught participating in a fight. Even fights between students without using weapons and without causing serious injury can result in misdemeanor charges which can stay on a juvenile’s record permanently. Fights which involve weapons, serious injury to the participants, or any injury to a teacher or school official often result in felony charges, which can mean court supervision, intervention in the home, or residential placement of the juvenile offender. The criminal laws of Pennsylvania are designed to protect schools and the people who work there, and frequently treat offensive conduct much more severely when it occurs on school grounds or victimizes a school employee.

The juvenile justice system is much more flexible than criminal court, and it has a broad range of tools and programs which can be used in fashioning an appropriate disposition. Pre-trial diversionary programs and the possibility of expungement of the juvenile’s record may sometimes be available to avoid the long-term consequences of a “criminal” record.

Please call us to help you navigate any situation your child may find themself in.

Posted on December 30, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Ramifications of Fighting at School.

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