Students are less likely, not more likely, to become a felon if they get into a fight or harass someone on school property, according to Sen. Bob Dixon (R-Springfield). He says some students and parents have been misinformed about a change in criminal code law that began last month.

Senator Bob Dixon (photo courtesy of Mike Lear)

“That possibility has always existed. However, with the new criminal code, the chances of that becoming a reality are actually less. It’s very easy to pick one thing out of a 1,000 page bill and misinterpreted,” says Dixon. “There’s no hard feelings over it. I just wanted to make sure that the parents had the facts, that the students had the facts, that the schools have the facts and make it clear that we don’t need to change anything yet in the code.”

Dixon says the new law reduces the number of assault charges given to a person and reduces the number of mandatory sentences that involve assaults on school property.

“Many of these things can best be worked out by educators and school personnel. But yes, if there are extreme cases, they can certainly be referred to a prosecutor,” says Dixon.

Some say the change includes a broad definition of harassment.