Maine Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Corporal punishment refers to the use of physical force -- such as slapping, spanking, or hitting -- as a means of discipline. Many states still allow public school teachers and administrators to use corporal punishment. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the legality of disciplinary corporal punishment in public schools.

Maine's Corporal Punishment Law

Corporal punishment means intentionally causing physical pain to a student. It was outlawed in Maine since 1975. However, a teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a child, is justified in using a reasonable degree of force against any such child who creates a disturbance when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to control the disturbing behavior or to remove a person from the scene of such disturbance.

What Types of Punishment Are Allowed in Public Schools?

Teachers and school administrators can use a variety of methods to discipline students. Here are some examples:

  • Send a student home early;
  • Require a conference with a teacher or school administrator;
  • Refer the student for outside help such as counseling or a drug and alcohol evaluation;
  • Impose an in-school suspension or detention that separates the student from other students;
  • Suspend the student for a certain number of days;
  • Immediately remove the student from school on an emergency expulsion;
  • Call the police or make a referral to juvenile court if a crime is alleged to have been committed.

What State Agency Can I Contact for More Information?

The Maine Department of Education resolves complaints, disputes, and problems between families and Washington State elementary and secondary public schools in all areas that affect student learning. Please contact that office for more information or consider speaking to an attorney who specializes in education law.

Maine's corporal punishment in public school law is briefly summarized in the following table. See FindLaw's School Discipline section for additional articles.

Code Section Criminal Penalties: 17-A Part 2, Chapter 23 § 554(1)(B-1), Civil Liability: Title 20-A §4009
Punishment Allowed Use of corporal punishment in public schools is prohibited
Circumstances Allowed? N/A

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Maine education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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