MSSC Legislation & Policy

Legislation & Policy

The Maine School Safety Center’s Legislative and Policy lane of service primarily provides advice and recommendations to the department of education on school safety matters and also provides guidance and support to our schools on best practice policy development.    

Education Statute Title 20A

Two sections of Title 20A, Part 2, Chapter 101, Subsection 1, #1001, Duties of a School Board, directly relate to our work here at the Maine School Safety Center. Review the full legislation here.

     Restorative Practices: Code of Conduct

15-A.  School disciplinary policies.  When revising the prescribed consequences for violation of the student code of conduct pursuant to subsection 15, paragraph C, a school board shall consider districtwide disciplinary policies that:  

A. Focus on positive interventions and expectations and avoid focusing exclusively on unacceptable student behavior. For the purpose of this subsection, "positive interventions" means instructional and environmental supports that are designed to teach students prosocial alternatives to problem behaviors with high rates of positive feedback;   [PL 2011, c. 614, §7 (NEW).]

B. Focus on positive and restorative interventions that are consistent with evidence-based practices rather than set punishments for specific behavior and avoid so-called zero-tolerance practices unless specifically required by federal or state laws, rules or regulations. For the purpose of this paragraph, "restorative interventions" means school practices that are designed to strengthen relationships, improve the connection to school and promote a strong sense of accountability and that help students learn from their mistakes, understand the impact of their actions on others and find opportunities to repair the harm they have caused through their misbehavior;   [PL 2011, c. 614, §7 (NEW).]

C. Allow administrators to use their discretion to fashion appropriate discipline that examines the circumstances pertinent to the case at hand; and   [PL 2011, c. 614, §7 (NEW).]

D. Provide written notice to the parents of a student when a student is suspended from school, regardless of whether the suspension is an in-school or out-of-school suspension.   [PL 2011, c. 614, §7 (NEW).]

The school board shall ensure that administrators inform students, parents and school personnel of the districtwide school disciplinary policies.  

[PL 2011, c. 614, §7 (NEW).]

School Emergency Management 

16.  Comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan.  Each school board shall annually approve a comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan developed by the school unit administration working with school teachers and staff and local, county and state public safety officials, fire-fighting personnel, emergency management officials, mental health officials, law enforcement officials, school nurses, physicians and public health staff to identify and deal with all hazards and potential hazards that could reasonably be expected to affect a facility or unit under the authority of the school administrative unit. The approval of a comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan under this subsection is public information. At the request of any school board member or full-time school employee, the school board shall form a steering committee composed of school employees, school board members, parents and others. A majority of the school employees must be chosen by the local representatives of the applicable bargaining unit if the school employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. The steering committee shall regularly review and refine the comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan. The following information pertaining to a comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan is public information:  

A. A description of the scope and purpose of the comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan and the process used for developing and updating the plan;   [PL 2021, c. 464, §1 (AMD).]

B. General information on auditing for safety and preparedness;   [PL 2007, c. 408, §1 (NEW).]

C. Roles and responsibilities of school administrators, teachers and staff and the designated chain of command during an emergency; and   [PL 2007, c. 408, §1 (NEW).]

D. Strategies for conveying information to parents and the general public during an emergency.   [PL 2007, c. 408, §1 (NEW).]

Except as provided in paragraphs A to D, release of the contents of a comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan approved under this subsection is subject to the limitations set forth in Title 1, section 402, subsection 3, paragraph L.  

[PL 2021, c. 464, §1 (AMD).]