"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
Most pieces of legislation pass through without much fanfare.
But we think you should pay close attention to N. C. Senate Bill 343. It could seriously change a teenager's future.
Last year, there were about 1300 attacks on school personnel across North Carolina. That's a ridiculously high amount.
Lawmakers say that suspensions for students who assault school employees are just a slap on the wrist.
They want to teach these young offenders a lesson.
Bill 343 would charge most full-time students, 16 or older, who assault a school worker on campus, with a misdemeanor.
A second offense warrants a felony charge.
Critics of the Bill say that may be a little too harsh.
A felony arrest has an impact on a student's getting into college, landing a job, finding a place to live…
Others say that a bill like this is long overdue. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime – TWICE.
What's YOUR opinion? Should a possible "lapse in judgment" or flair-up "in the heat of the moment" follow a teenager the rest of his life?
Or will this finally get students to think twice about attacking school personnel?
Is this setting up a generation for failure in life?
Or will this teach a valuable lesson about keeping peace in the classroom?