• Marriage in Maine

Anti-Bullying

 

Anti-Bullying Bill Passes in Legislature 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2012
 
Students, Child Advocates, Teachers, and Civil Libertarians Applaud Legislature’s Action
 
Augusta, ME- The Legislature voted late yesterday to pass a revised version of the anti-bullying bill, LD
1237, by a vote of 32 to 2 in the Senate, and 128 to 4 in the House.
 
“We applaud the Legislature for their efforts to stand up for kids,” said Ned McCann, Vice President of
the Maine Children’s Alliance. “All Maine children deserve to be safe at school, and LD 1237 is a big
step towards that goal.”
 
The bill went through an extensive revision process in the Education Committee, with input from students,
educators and stakeholders, before members of the committee voted unanimously to support the bill.
 
"I witnessed bullying almost every day at school” says MaKayla Reed, a senior at Ellsworth High School
who testified in support of the bill last year. “It means so much to me and students like me to know that
the Legislature has supported a bill to help address this devastating issue."
 
“Teachers know firsthand that students can’t learn if they’re scared to be in school. This bill will help
make sure that all kids feel safe in their classrooms and can focus on learning,” said Chris Galgay, the
President of the Maine Education Association.
 
The bill improves on existing Maine law by providing a clear definition of bullying, an explicit prohibition
on bullying behavior, a range of alternative discipline strategies for schools, policies focused on
prevention and accountability, and training on how to address and prevent bullying for teachers. Maine
law currently requires only that bullying be addressed in the Student Code of Conduct – something that
has led to great variation in the state.
 
“This bill will make a real and positive difference in the lives of all of our students. While many schools
in Maine are doing good work, this bill would ensure that all students are protected no matter what
community they live in,” said Mary L. Bonauto, an attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.
“The bill that the Legislature approved yesterday has struck an appropriate balance that protects student
safety and freedom of speech. We can reduce bullying in school without undermining our fundamental
civil liberties." said Alysia Melnick, Public Policy Council for the American Civil Liberties Union of
Maine.
 
Groups supporting passage of the bill include the ACLU of Maine, Gay & Lesbian Advocates &
Defenders (GLAD), Maine Children’s Alliance, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network,
EqualityMaine, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, the Maine Council of Churches,
the Maine Education Association, the Maine Women’s Lobby, and the Religious Coalition Against
Discrimination.
 
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