Students are back in school in Illinois, and along with homework and extracurricular activities, you might also need to think about school-related assaults.
Two incidents from the previous school year stand out as warnings to both parents and students in the Chicago area.
Teens Arrested for Fighting in Chicago
Last May, a fellow student stabbed Destinee Garza with a pair of scissors during a fight at Oak Lawn Community High School, and she suffered laceration injuries to her arms, neck, and forehead.
The other female student supposedly attacked Garza during passing time in the hallway. It took 35 seconds for another student to break up the fight by prying the scissors from the other girl’s hands.
Although the girl with the scissors ran away from the school after the fight, Oak Lawn police were able to apprehend her later that day and confirmed she would be petitioned to juvenile court on aggravated battery charges.
Last January, police responded to a battery call when a 16-year-old girl was arrested for attacking another female student on a school bus that was parked on the Stevenson High School campus waiting to bring students home.
In a cellphone video, the victim is seen outside the school bus and after she gets on the bus, the attacker punches her repeatedly while also telling her to “say you’re sorry.” The bus driver confronted the students before calling for security.
The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries and the public information coordinator for the school said the attacker wouldn’t be returning to the school for a while. Police also confirmed the alleged attacker would be referred to the Depke Juvenile Justice Complex.
How Can School Fights in Illinois Affect My Teen?
A criminal record can have lasting effects on a teen’s life, especially if the charge is related to a violent crime like assault or battery. That’s why it’s imperative to reach out to a knowledgeable Illinois defense attorney who has experience with both assault and battery and juvenile crimes.
Fortunately for parents, Illinois has reformed some of its laws when it comes to juvenile crimes in an attempt to keep kids out of the prison system and focus on rehabilitation.
Judges now have more flexibility and discretion when it comes to sentencing juveniles, instead of giving a blanket sentence for a single charge. This means that judges can consider a number of factors, including “the minor’s age and cognitive ability, home life, degree of participation in a crime, criminal history and potential for rehabilitation.”
In addition to this flexibility, the new juvenile criminal laws also try to keep kids who have committed misdemeanor offenses – theft, assault, battery, marijuana possession, etc. – out of a juvenile detention facility.
The circumstances of the incident, as well as your child’s history – especially if this was an isolated incident – will be crucial in getting the charges and punishment reduced, dropped, or dismissed. A skilled attorney will be able to make a case for your child not becoming another tragedy of the criminal justice system.
Don’t let a mistake ruin your child’s life. Regardless of what happened, your child deserves to live his or her life unscathed by a criminal record. A qualified Chicago juvenile crimes attorney will protect your child’s rights and give them the best chance at a positive outcome.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.