Rep. Suzanne Schmidt advocates for stronger penalties to deter assaults on public school grounds

 Increased penalties would be faced by those committing assaults against students and referees under terms of legislation proposed by a Republican lawmaker.

It would become a felony by committing an act of intimidation through threats of force of violence at schools and athletic activities under terms of House Bill 2079, sponsored by Representative Suzanne Schmidt from Spokane Valley.

“What I’m trying to do with this bill is say hey, listen, there is some penalty for this to try to keep people’s violent behavior in check. If you exhibit this kind of behavior, you attack somebody, you intimidate them, you assault them, you are going to be charged.”

Schmidt‘s friend, Bob West, was the victim of an attack by a high school athlete while refereeing a wrestling match. He testified Thursday before the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee that this legislation corrects a long-lasting decline in sportsmanship.

“The deterioration of parental control, the role models – and if a person does cross the line, the accountability piece.”

Schmidt said the intent of her legislation is to assure that schools host fun, family events that teach students important lessons and are beneficial to participants and spectators.

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