In school, a child got spit on twice. this child twice tried to leave the area, got spit on both times, punched the spitter. now the school considers the child who threw the punch the assaulter.
Schools these days often have a "zero tolerance" policy. While spitting on someone is considered an assault in many states under common law, that does not bind school policy.
It is certainly provocation and probably disorderly conduct.
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Being spit on may certainly be an excuse to hit someone, and certainly constitutes disorderly conduct, but it does not justify physically hitting someone. I agree with Attorney Kenyon about the "zero tolerance" policies that most schools have, and we have all heard the ridiculous stories about students being suspended for minor infractions. On the other hand, resorting to physical violence in reaction to being spit on, while understandable in some respects, should not be tolerated.
There are crimes that involve spitting specifically but none of them would cover the scenario you describe. Spitting could easily be considered a violation of disorderly conduct statutes. I think the "puncher" has a legitimate self-defense argument. At a minimum, you should consult with an attorney who knows/has experience with school law. If charges were issued, you should be able to find an attorney experienced in both. If you would like to speak with me, please call 920-459-8490. There will be no charge for the phone call.