Tue, 11/27/2012 - 3:06am
Posted by pmrmsm
A new state rule sharply limiting how teachers can "restrain" students is under attack by several statewide education groups, which say they want it changed to allow more flexibility for teachers who deal with out-of-control students. The teachers union, the Maine Principals' Association, the Maine School Superintendents Association and the Maine School Boards Association have sent letters to Bowen asking him to reopen the rule… he stated that he has no intention of doing so.
While there is one legislator who has stated that if Commissioner Bowen will not reopen this rule, that he will bring it before the legislature under an emergency form. I also know of a couple of other legislators who have told me the same thing. So this is clearly a hot issue with many school districts through out the state with the MEA, the MPA, the MSSA, and the MSBA.
I have been hearing the problems this has caused not only in our district because of being on the school board, but when I attended the State Convention of School Boards last month...this was one of those hot topics that had about two or three different seminars and there was a lot of discussion on how different school districts felt tied because you can guide a student to a time out area, but you can not force them to go if they don't want to go. It does not matter if they are in kindergarten or a senior in high school. Some people are under the impression that this updated rule is directed at a few select schools in the state. Why isolate less than 6000 students with a rule that effects more than 200,000. Just an observation.
Commissioner Bowen says, and I am paraphrazing, when we were holding our public hearings...nobody got up to tell us that this was a bad idea or the wrong direction to go in.
Maybe that is because almost nobody knew about it as it was a rule change and it did not have to go through the legislature. It went from Bowen's desk to the Governor's and it probably had so many changes in it that there was not enough time to digest and compare all those changes. I am just guessing here as I did not know everything that was in the rule before, but boy do I now having been through our school district's training and the State Convention seminars. I am no expert, but I know it a lot better than I did before.
Our school district has now adopted a new policy that will be passed on to individual property taxpayer or that of the landlord where the student lives so the parents still can be assessed the bill by the landlord. If their child causes damage to school property those parents / guardians will be personally held responsible for the damages and if they can't pay the damages by a certain date, then a bill is sent to the town to be attached to their property taxes for collection. This way we are not passing of damage caused by the students to all the taxpayers in the district nor are we charging it off to the insurance company.