State law discourages district use of zero tolerance approaches and encourages school administrator discretion in determining sanctions for violations of school policy.
Maine Revised Statutes 20-A 1001. Duties of school boards
9-A. Students expelled or suspended under the requirements of the federal Gun-Free Schools Act. The school boards shall adopt a policy for expelling a student who is determined to have brought a firearm, as defined in 18 United States Code, Section 921, to school or to have possessed a firearm at school and for referring the matter to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.
- A. A student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school or to have possessed a firearm at school under this subsection must be expelled from school for a period of not less than one year, except that the school board may authorize the superintendent to modify the requirement for expulsion of a student on a case-by-case basis. A decision to change the placement of a student with a disability must be made in accordance with the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 United States Code, Section 1400 et seq.
- B. Nothing in this subsection prevents a school board from:
- 1) Offering instructional activities related to firearms or from allowing a firearm to be brought to school for instructional activities sanctioned by the school board and for which the school board has adopted appropriate safeguards to ensure student safety; or
- 2) Providing educational services in an alternative setting to a student who has been expelled.
- C. In accordance with the proper investigation and due process provisions required in subsection 9, a principal may suspend immediately for good cause a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school or to have possessed a firearm at school under this subsection.
Maine Revised Statutes 20-A 6555. Dangerous behavior prevention and intervention
- Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. “Administrator” has the same meaning as in section 13001-A, subsection 1.
B. “Assigned public school employee” means a public school employee chosen by the local president of the applicable bargaining unit to review a reported incident of dangerous behavior.
C. “Dangerous behavior” means behavior of a student that presents a risk of injury or harm to a student or others.
- Report of incident of dangerous behavior. Upon receipt of a report of an incident of dangerous behavior made by a teacher or school staff person, a school administrative unit shall review the reported incident and develop an individualized response plan in accordance with this subsection. The review of the reported incident must be conducted by an administrator and an assigned public school employee. If the report of the incident of dangerous behavior is substantiated, the school administrative unit shall, in consultation with the public school employee who was subjected to the dangerous behavior, if any, develop an individualized response plan to avoid future dangerous behavior, which may include but is not limited to:
A. Minimizing suspension and expulsion of the student;
B. Prioritizing counseling and guidance services for the student and educators;
C. Providing positive behavioral interventions and supports and supports designed to address the consequences of trauma in the individual and training for the student and educators;
D. Restorative practices;
E. Training for public school employees who interact with the student; and
F. Provision of adequate staffing and professional development necessary to implement the plan. Nothing in this subsection may be construed as limiting any federally protected right of a student, including, but not limited to, federally protected rights of students with disabilities. Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of a student eligible for services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or protected from discrimination under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, any discussions or actions related to the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the student or provision of a free, appropriate public education to the student must take place through the processes established under federal law.