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Can teens face assault charges for school fights?

Teenagers are not immune to anger issues and getting into fights. In September 2018, a 17-year-old faced attempted murder charges after police caught him engaged in a shootout that resulted in one fatality. 

School fights may seem harmless, but they can lead to serious charges if the incident is severe enough. It is certainly not unheard of for the victim's parents to file assault charges against the perpetrator of the altercation. 

Understand the consequences

Most minors will go to juvenile court if charged with a crime. However, there are instances where a high schooler can go to adult court if there are extra factors impacting the severity of the crime. For example, a student who assaults a teacher or brings a weapon to school, such as a gun or knife, will face more extreme punishments. Motivation is another crucial factor, and if police suspect a student sought to commit a hate crime, then more serious charges will be on the table. Minnesota has five separate degrees of assault that determine what happens to a minor. 

Consider non-legal punishments

A fight between two students may not lead to legal consequences if the student's family decides not to press charges. This does not mean those involved are immune from punishment of any kind. More than likely, the school intervenes and punishes the students accordingly. This could lead to suspension or expulsion. Either way, it ends up on a student's record and could prevent him or her from getting into certain colleges. 

Seek anger management

Parents with children who have a history of instigating violence may want to consider enrolling their children in anger management courses. Any family would prefer consulting with a therapist rather than an attorney after the child has already harmed someone. These sessions can show a child the importance of knowing when to walk away from a fight. 

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