What are the Maine state laws and regulations that cover bullying?
- Maine Revised Statute Annotated Title 20-A §254, sub-§11-A. Model policy; reporting
- Maine Revised Statute Annotated Title 20-A, §1001, sub-§15H. Adoption of student code of conduct
- Maine Revised Statute Annotated Title 20-A §6553. Prohibition of hazing
- Maine Revised Statute Annotated Title 20-A §6554. Prohibition on bullying in public schools
How are bullying and cyberbullying defined in Maine anti-bullying laws and regulations?
Maine anti-bullying laws include the following definitions bullying and cyberbullying:
“Bullying” includes, but is not limited to, a written, oral or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student or students that:
(1) Has, or a reasonable person would expect it to have, the effect of:
(a) Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property; or
(b) Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm or damage to the student’s property;
(2) Interferes with the rights of a student by:
(a) Creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment for the student; or
(b) Interfering with the student’s academic performance or ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by a school; or
(3) Is based on a student’s actual or perceived characteristics identified in Title 5, section 4602 or 4684-A, or is based on a student’s association with a person with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics or any other distinguishing characteristics and that has the effect described in subparagraph (1) or (2).
“Bullying” includes cyberbullying.
“Cyberbullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including, but not limited to, a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted by the use of any electronic device, including, but not limited to, a computer, telephone, cellular telephone, text messaging device and personal digital assistant.
20-A M.R.S. § 6554 (2012)
Do Maine anti-bullying laws and regulations cover cyberbullying that occurs off-campus?
Yes. Maine anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct that takes place elsewhere, or through the use of technology, but only if the bullying also infringes on the rights of the student at school.
What are the policy requirements for schools to prevent and respond to bullying behavior?
Maine school districts must establish policies and procedures to address bullying that conform to the state model policy. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:
- Provisions identifying the responsibility of students and others to comply with the policies;
- Statements that bullying, harassment and sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting incidents are prohibited;
- Provisions outlining the responsibility of a superintendent to implement and enforce the bullying policies, including a requirement to designate school personnel to administer policies at the school level and a procedure for publicly identifying the designee;
- Procedures for reporting and investigations;
- Procedures for a person to appeal the outcome of an investigation;
- Statements of consequences for violation of the policy, including false accusation or retaliation against a person who reports;
- Procedures to remediate any substantiated incident to counter the negative impact of bullying, which may include referring the victim, perpetrator, or other involved students to counseling or other appropriate services;
- Processes for communicating to the parent of a student who has been bullied the measures being taken to ensure student safety;
- Procedures for communicating with law enforcement if pursuit of criminal charges is appropriate; and
- Statements of how the policy will be publicized within the district.
Maine anti-bullying laws require districts to file policies to address bullying and cyberbullying with the department.
Do Maine anti-bullying laws and regulations include protections for specific groups?
Yes. Maine state law prohibits bullying is based on a student’s actual or perceived characteristics including race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation, or is based on a student’s association with a person with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics or any other distinguishing characteristics.
Maine schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination on a number of different personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.
Do Maine anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies?
No. Maine anti-bullying laws do not require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies.
Do Maine anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to prevent and respond to bullying incidents?
Yes. Maine school districts must provide professional development and staff training.
Do Maine anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying?
Yes. Maine school district bullying policies must include a procedure to remediate any substantiated incident of bullying to counter the negative impact of the bullying and reduce the risk of future bullying incidents, which may include referring the victim, perpetrator or other involved persons to counseling or other appropriate services.
Do Maine anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to address bullying behavior?
Yes. Maine school district policies must include a process for the school to communicate to the parent of a student who has been bullied the measures being taken to ensure the safety of the student who has been bullied and to prevent further acts of bullying.
For More Information
The key component framework used in the analysis of state laws is based on the review of legislation presented in the “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011” (U.S. Department of Education).
Content last updated on June 20, 2017