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May 22, 2012

New Anti-Bullying Law in Maine

Update: Governor LePage signed this bill into law on May 21.

The Maine Legislature voted last week 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. 

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. Governor LePage signed it into law on May 21.

The new law 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 law 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,” says GLAD attorney Mary L. Bonauto.

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.

Read the coalition’s complete press release

Read a section by section summary of LD 1237

GLAD and our allies provided useful analysis during this legislative endeavor, including:
Maines’ current anti-bullying law versus what LD 1237 will do

Anti-bullying laws in the other New England States

U.S. Department of Education analysis of state anti-bullying laws