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School Safety



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April 16 | Senate Committee Oks Bill Making Assault on School Employee a Felony

Adam Pridemore | NCASA – The Senate Education Committee gave initial approval this week to a bill which would make it a felony offense if a student aged 16 or older assaults a school employee on school property while the employee is discharging official duties or the assault is committed as a result of the discharge or attempt of the discharge of the employee’s official duties. The bill, Senate Bill 343, requires the student not have an Individualized Education Program or Section 504 plan, and also covers school volunteers. Current law provides that a person committing an assault on a school employee or volunteer is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor. This bill would make the first offense of this type a Class I felony and all subsequent offenses would be a Class G felony.


The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), remarked to the committee that there was a need for this legislation as there were over 1,300 reported assaults on school personnel last year, a number which he felt is under reported. Committee members expressed concerns that incurring a felony conviction would be overly burdensome at such a young age and would seriously impact a student’s future ability to gain college admission or find employment. Other committee members suggested that the term “assault” is so broad that it may not require actual physical contact, and felt that was important to warrant a serious felony offense. Sen. Tillman expressed a willingness to discuss the bill further and narrow the language as needed as the bill moves forward in the legislative process.

A summary of the bill as it was discussed in committee may be found
here. The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary II Committee for further review and consideration.

To read more on the bill in the Senate Education Committee, please click
here for an article written by WRAL-TV.