Alternative Discipline, Not Criminal Punishment, in Maine Schools
GLAD opposes Maine’s LD 1444 because it creates a new crime that would have serious and long-term negative effects on young people.
In testimony to the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, GLAD and EqualityMaine explained that the bill “…creates a crime that will have disastrous collateral effects for young people over their lifetimes and will not accomplish its goals in any event. The anti-bullying law enacted in 2011 recommends that schools consider “alternative discipline” rather than school exclusion or criminal penalties for addressing the consistent bullying of socially marginalized students. Other bills before the Legislature rightly seek to explore the uses of restorative processes to promote responsibility and accountability without exclusion from school or channeling young people into the criminal system.”
Instead, we would “like to see dedicated, enhanced, and creative efforts to build schools as zones of mutual respect that help prepare students for success in a diverse and ever-changing world and in which teachers and staff can support student learning and development.”