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Maine fares well in a national ranking of states’ policies on restraining students.

ProPublica, a Pultizer Prize-winning investigative newsroom, put together a map last year that allows you to compare each state’s rules on pinning down or restraining students who have major outbursts.

It gave Maine one of the highest scores in the country for the following:

  • its comprehensive level of regulations,
  • its limiting of restraints and seclusion to emergencies that involve potential harm to students or others,
  • its requirement that parents be notified every time children are subject to restraints or seclusions,
  • its prohibition of restraints that restrict breathing, and
  • its prohibition of mechanical restraints like straps, handcuffs and bungee cords.

The only thing Maine got bad marks on was for not prohibiting seclusion outright.

Georgia was the only state to earn the highest score of 12, while Maine and six other states got the second-highest mark of 10.

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Credit: ProPublica

In recent years Maine made changes to the rules that guide how teachers and school staff may react to unruly students. In 2012, a stakeholders group made changes to the Department of Education’s rules, to clarify definitions of restraint and seclusion, require teachers to be trained, and lay out a documentation and review process.

The Legislature later amended the rules to make it clearer when educators could touch a student and when they couldn’t. For instance, they may comfort a student or break up a fight.

Check out the full interactive map here.

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Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is the editor of Maine Focus, a team that conducts journalism investigations and projects at the Bangor Daily News. She also writes for the newspaper, often centering her work on domestic and...