High_School_ClassroomRALEIGH–A bill has been advanced that would make it a felony for students 16 years of age or older to assault a teacher.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jerry Tillman, said the proposal is to get people’s attention that this is a serious offense and that it happens too often. Last year, about 1,300 reports were filed of attacks on teachers.

Some believe a felony charge is too severe for a student because it would remain with them throughout their lifetime. But the bill sponsor says students will be aware of the consequences.

“It will be a very serious offense and I think that it will be well known – that parents and students will be well informed about this new law if it passes. And none of us want teachers under attack and that’s why I am doing it, “said Sen. Tillman.

Currently, a student assault on a teacher is a misdemeanor and can be upgraded to a felony if there is bodily harm.