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June 9, 2011

Maine Legislature Passes Anti-Bullying Bill

Yesterday, Maine’s House of Representatives and Senate passed “An Act to Prohibit Bullying in Schools,” which establishes strong anti-bullying protections for Maine students.

“We are thrilled with this bill and the acknowledgement of what we all know:  that bullying is a pervasive and serious problem in our schools,” said Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD.  Bonauto drafted the legislation with input from a wide variety of educators, policy officials, anti-bullying educators and civil rights and student advocates. 

The Bill:
• Defines bullying and cyberbullying statewide rather than leaving the definition to the discretion of each school district;
• Prohibits bullying and cyberbullying in Maine Schools;
• Requires schools to take action when bullying occurs;
• Encourages use of alternative forms of discipline to address the root causes of bullying;
• Sets minimum standards for anti-bullying policies; and
• Contains detailed legislative findings acknowledging that students are a critical part of the solution to bullying in schools

GLAD also worked with a coalition including Equality Maine, the Maine Civil Liberties Union, and GLSEN with leadership from Kate Knox of Bernstein Shur, who lobbies on behalf of EQME, to get the bill passed.

The bill now goes to Governor Paul LePage for signature.  “It is our hope that the Governor will take this critical step to help students who may be bullied for any reason,” said Bonauto.
Read GLAD’s full statement