AN: I was reading some meta for this fandom, as well as thinking about the wider-world implications of a lot of things that we've seen so far, and this story was thought up. Each chapter should be pretty independent, but they will all take place as a series of lessons the students get that help expand the wider universe of heroes and Quirks. Hope you enjoy!
"Now that you are all third years and preparing to go into the real world of heroics," Aizawa began, dropping a stack of papers on his desk as he moved to the front of the room, the class falling silent around him, "we are going to be doing something new. From now on, the staff has decided that once a week we will be having a homeroom dedicated to teaching you about a topic deemed to be important and/or relevant to your future."
A hand shot up in the middle of the class.
"Yes, Iida, there will be homework," Aizawa said to a chorus of dismayed groans, not looking away from the electronic pad in his hand where he was setting up his presentation, and the hand slowly retreated. "There will be an essay each week devoted to the topic due at the start of the following week's lesson. It will be an opinion piece, so there is no right or wrong answer, but I do expect it to be well-written and well-argued - you are not allowed to say you have an opinion 'just because'. Any further questions?"
He looked up and scanned the room, seeing a combination of distress, curiosity, and interest around the room. Nobody else raised their hand, so he nodded and tapped the screen of his pad, sending a hologram projection onto the wall behind him, where the words 'Heroes vs Villains' were now displayed.
"Today's lesson is about what defines a hero and a villain," he stated plainly, moving to sit on the edge of his desk. "Does anyone want to try and define the two for me?"
"Oh! Villains commit crimes, and heroes stop them!" Ashido piped up, hand in the air. Aizawa didn't bother reprimanding her for not waiting for an answer - in a discussion like this it was a waste of time, unless people started talking over each other.
"Over-simplified, but not incorrect," he commented, causing the pink girl to smile. "Why then do villains and criminals get different designations in police reports? And why are vigilantes not classified as either heroes or villains?"
This time there was a silence as everyone glanced at each other or frowned in thought. That silence continued to the point where Aizawa nodded, deciding to help them out. He gestured towards the screen as he switched it to a different slide.
"Here are two individuals who were brought into custody years ago. One was labeled a villain, and the other a criminal," he said. "The man on the left is named Daigo Arata, who was apprehended after using his Quirk to walk through the walls of a bank to try and rob it. The woman on the right is named Kondo Dai, whose Quirk was the ability to change her hair and eye colors. She was a drug lord who was taken in when they finally got enough evidence that she was the one responsible for spreading the illegal substances. Which one was labeled the villain and why?"
"The man," Midoriya finally said, his eyes lighting up as he connected the dots. Aizawa couldn't help the small tinge of pride at him having picked everything up so quickly - most years it took a lot longer for people to see it. "He was the only one who used their Quirk."
Several students sucked in breaths of realization, finally putting together what Midoriya had realized, while several others straightened in interest. Aizawa nodded, flicking to the next image as he spoke.
"Exactly. Quirk use is what separates a villain from a criminal, and determines which set of laws apply to the situation." Up on screen he showed a graph with paired bars, one red and one blue. "Here you can see that the red bars are crime without Quirks, and the blue bar is crime with Quirks over the last ten years. Can anybody point out something interesting about this graph?"
"There's a lot more crime without Quirks than expected," Yaoyorozu pointed out. "It's also seemed to go down over the last ten years, while crime with Quirks has increased."
"That's right, it has. Now, there is a reason for that. Can any of you figure out what it is?"
"Does it have to do with the League?" Kirishima asked, after a moment's pause. At Aizawa's raised eyebrow, he elaborated. "I mean, they started recruiting small-time crooks a while ago, right? And I feel like most of the smaller crooks would be doing crime without Quirks, since that sort of stuff doesn't really make the news these days, you know?"
"Correct," Aizawa responded, seeing the red-haired boy's face light up at the confirmation he got the right answer. "Another factor is that heroism gets more popular every year. Not only does this lead to more heroes being on the streets each year to make it harder for un-Quirked crime to happen, but also more heroes who end up getting jaded with the realities of heroism and choosing to take revenge by joining the villains."
He lets that statement sit a moment, feeling the atmosphere get a little more somber. Deciding to move on after that, he switches the slide again, so that it reads 'Heroes vs Vigilantes'.
"So, what separates a hero from a vigilante then?" Aizawa was genuinely interested in seeing the response this got from the class, given that it was a little bit of a trick question.
"Whether or not they have a license, obviously," Bakugou commented, scoffing a little at what he thought was an easy answer. Aizawa raised his eyebrows pointedly.
"Mostly correct, but not entirely," he said, causing Bakugou to glare at him in indignation. "Think, what were we just talking about?"
"The use of a Quirk in a heroic capacity without a license," Iida said, realization tinging his voice, before he frowned. "But then, what happens to those who act heroically without a license and without using their Quirk? Surely there are still laws against it?"
"There actually aren't," Midoriya chimed in, voice strangely flat as he frowned thoughtfully at his hands. The attention of the entire class turned to him. "So much of society is based around Quirks these days, and in the early days of Quirks, legislation was just trying to get ahead of it all and ultimately they created a whole separate section of laws related to Quirks and Quirk use. A lot of old laws weren't updated, so if someone can prove they didn't use a Quirk to fight a villain, they can't get in legal trouble over it since villains are covered under Quirk laws instead of crime laws. I suppose if they faced a criminal, they still would, since that's un-Quirked fighting of un-Quirked crime. But there is still that legal loophole that hasn't been closed, and with Quirked crime increasing and Quirkless people dying off, most people can't be bothered to update it."
Aizawa studied his student carefully, a little taken aback that the boy knew so much about that loophole in the law. Most underground heroes knew about it, and so did a few daylight heroes, depending on their specialty, but for the most part as Midoriya said, people couldn't be bothered with it.
"Exactly," he finally said, moving his attention elsewhere. "As a hero, you will find there are situations that either fall under Quirk laws or under crime laws. There is no overlap between them - even if some of it is the same, such as the punishment for murder - so you can never have a situation that applies to both. If an individual commits both Quirked and un-Quirked crime, then they are tried separately under both sets of laws."
"That just sounds messy," Kaminari grimaced. Aizawa allowed his lips to twitch, nodding in agreement.
"Yes, it can be. But it also is worth it, to make sure villains and criminals are held to justice appropriately. You have to remember," the teacher pointed out, "Quirks are a relatively new feature of human society. For thousands of years, everyone was Quirkless, so when Quirks showed up people needed a way to differentiate Quirked actions and un-Quirked actions. These laws are an added section to a much older set of laws - they weren't originally a part of our legal system, and it shows."
He was pleased to see most of the students looking thoughtful now, as well as a few of them looking more curious than anything. Casting a glance at the clock, Aizawa decided to move the conversation along.
"Alright, we don't have much more time today, so for this week's essay please write two pages - no more than two, Midoriya, I will dock points - on a situation where someone was arrested for both Quirked and un-Quirked crime and how the situation was handled. You should also include how well you think the situation was handled, the implications of the results of the convictions or non-convictions, and if you would have done anything differently."
"Is there a specific case you want us to use?" Jirou asked, half-raising her hand as she spoke.
"No, you are free to choose a case, and if you are having trouble tracking one down, let me know and I can direct you to one," he replied, standing up and stepping away from his desk. "Any more questions?"
There was a series of head shakes, and Aizawa nodded firmly.
"Good. I'll expect those essays next week then." A bell quietly sounded, signaling the end of homeroom. "Now, on to the next lesson of today."