Florida deputies arrest 11 students involved in brawl at high school
Florida deputies on Tuesday arrested 11 high school students involved in a large fight in the hallway.
Students and adults caught fighting on public school grounds in Washington state, including during youth sports games, could be charged with felonies under new legislation introduced in the state’s House of Representatives.
“I introduced House Bill 2079 because I have friend, who many years ago was assaulted by a wrestler after refereeing a match. He was knocked unconscious and ended up with a permanent disability. No charges were filed. Each year, we are seeing more of these incidents. Referees and coaches are being verbally and sometimes physically assaulted,” Republican state Rep. Suzanne Schmidt told Fox News Digital of her bill.
Under House Bill 2079, students and adults who fight on school grounds could face a class C felony charge as opposed to a gross misdemeanor. Students found fighting on school grounds could also face emergency removal from the school under the bill, while non-students found fighting on school property could be barred from the property for one year, The Everett Herald reported.
“Competition is good and sports are supposed to be fun. However, there is no need for intimidating, assaulting or threatening our sports officials, coaches or players,” Schmidt told Fox News Digital.
OVER 500 STUDENTS ABSENT, ‘SCARED’ AFTER WASHINGTON STATE HIGH SCHOOL INTRUSION OF MASKED ATTACKERS
Washington state Rep. Suzanne Schmidt. (Washington House of Representatives )
“Extracurricular activities are important for students and our youth, but we have a significant referee shortage in Washington state. It is easy to see why people don’t want to referee sporting events. If we want people to be interested in becoming an official, we should make sure they are going to be protected and those who intimidate or assault them in any way face an appropriate penalty,” she continued.
The bill would address both “force or violence at schools and athletic activities,” according to the text of the legislation.
“The legislature finds that incidents of violence in elementary and secondary schools raise concerns about ensuring and promoting school safety. For learning to occur, schools must first be safe places for students and staff. The legislature recognizes that violent behavior tends to escalate if tolerated, thus it is the intent of the legislature to provide targeted and appropriate sanctions for the interference with school activities by force or violence before it rises to the level of substantial or grievous bodily harm,” the bill states.
Football sits on high school football field. (Getty Images)
Violence rocked some schools in Washington state last year, with more than 400 fights reported from September to May across five middle schools within the Everett School District. Everett is located about 30 miles north of Seattle.
Parents and school officials within the district have been sounding the alarm for months regarding the rise in school fights, local reports show, including a lawsuit filed by a family of an allegedly bullied and beaten child against the district last year.
More than 400 fights were reported from September to May at schools in Washington last year. (istock)
Within the Everett school system last year, Evergreen Middle School alone saw 168 fights break out and 12 students left seriously injured, The Everett Herald previously reported. Another middle school, North Middle School, reported 106 fights during the last school year, while Eisenhower Middle School reported 70 fights, followed by two other middle schools that each had at least two dozen school fights. The data did not break down school fights versus youth sports fights on school grounds.
WASHINGTON STATE MIDDLE SCHOOL BLASTED FOR ‘HIGHLY VILE’ LICKING GAME BETWEEN STAFF AND STUDENTS
Republican state Rep. Sam Low worked with Schmidt to help craft the legislation, and noted that the bill is intended to help end especially violent fights – not short quarrels.
Washington Republican Rep. Sam Low speaking during event. (HouseRepublicans.wa.gov )
“Obviously if you spit on somebody that’s not going to be a class C felony,” Low told The Everett Herald. “But what we’re really trying to get away from is the violence where you’re attacking somebody, you’re knocking them out.”
Low told the outlet that the bill is intended to focus on intensifying penalties against students and adults who fight or intimidate sports referees and coaches, who he says are increasingly leaving such positions. The bill later expanded its scope to include students and adults who fight on school grounds, the outlet reported.
WASHINGTON BILL TO ALLOW MEDICAL TRANSGENDER INTERVENTIONS ON MINORS WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT
Evergreen Middle School in Everett, Washington. (Google Maps )
Democratic Rep. April Berg told the outlet that the bill could create a “school-to-prison pipeline,” but said she will study the bill further.
SEATTLE STUDENT FAILED QUIZ FOR ANSWERING ‘ONLY WOMEN CAN GET PREGNANT’; SCHOOL RESPONDS
“I’m not in favor of anything that would increase the potential of having a direct pipeline of our students into the criminal justice arena,” Berg said.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The bill has not yet received a public hearing date, which Low said might not happen at all. The bill, which has bipartisan support, was referred to the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, according to the Washington State Legislature.