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JICIA - Weapons, Violence and School Safety

Book: J

Section: Students

Title: Weapons, Violence and School Safety


Status: Active

Adopted: July 10, 1996

Last Revised: May 18, 2021



The Portland Board of Public Education (“Board”) believes that students and staff are entitled to learn and work in a school environment without fear of violence. Students, school staff, volunteers, and visitors are expected to conduct themselves with respect for others and in accordance with Board policies, school rules, reasonable unwritten behavior expectations, and applicable state and federal laws (see references).

School staff and volunteers are required to immediately report incidents of prohibited conduct to the building administrator for investigation and appropriate action. Students who are subjected to or observe prohibited conduct are strongly encouraged to report it to a staff member or administrator.

1.                  Prohibited Conduct

 Students, volunteers and visitors are prohibited from engaging in the following conduct on school property, while in attendance at school, at any other school-sponsored activity, or at any time or place that such conduct directly interferes with the operations, discipline or general welfare of the school:

  1. Possession and/or use of articles commonly used or designed to inflict bodily harm and/or to threaten, intimidate, coerce or harass another person. Examples of such articles include but are not limited to firearms, BB guns, air guns, pellet guns, any other kind of gun, ammunition, explosives, cross-bows, brass knuckles, switchblades, knives, chains, clubs, Kung Fu stars, and nunchucks;
  2. Discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of school property. "Firearm" means any instrument used in the propulsion of pellets, shot, shells or bullets by action of gunpowder, compressed air or gas exploded or released within it;
  3. Use of an object, although not necessarily designed to be a weapon, to inflict bodily harm and/or to threaten, intimidate, coerce or harass another person. Examples of such objects could include but are not limited to bats, belts, picks, pencils, compasses, articles capable of ignition (e.g., matches, lighters), files, tools of any sort, and replicas of weapons (including toys);
  4. Violent, threatening or menacing behavior, including but not limited to fighting, assault and/or battery, taking hostages, threats to commit violence against persons or property (e.g., verbal or written death threats, threats of bodily harm, bomb threats), stalking, or blocking access to school property or facilities;
  5. Verbal or written statements (including those made on or through a computer or other electronic device) which threaten, intimidate, or harass others; verbal or written statements which tend to incite violence and/or disrupt the school program; blackmail; extortion; or demands for money or property;
  6. Intentional damage to school or personal property;
  7. Retaliation for reporting or giving evidence of violation of this policy; and
  8. Any other conduct that may be harmful to persons or property.

2.  Exceptions to Prohibition Against Possession and Use of Weapons on School Property

  1. The prohibition on the possession and discharge of a firearm does not apply to law enforcement officials.

3.  Disciplinary Action

A.  Students

Principals shall be trained in and use a district threat assessment protocol to assess and respond to reported violations of this policy. The protocol will differentiate between non-serious and serious threats to safety and will guide principals in assessing a scenario, supporting those involved, and designing safety plans if necessary.

Responses could take a wide range of forms including, but not limited to, re-teaching of expectations, counseling, safety planning, and suspension and/or expulsion based upon the facts of each case and in accordance with applicable state and federal laws and board and school policy. Conduct may also be grounds for expulsion under other provisions of 20-A MRS § 1001 (9 and 9-A) that specifically prohibit the use and possession of weapons, infractions of violence, and possession, furnishing and trafficking of scheduled drugs. All firearms violations shall be referred to law enforcement as required by law.

The Superintendent is authorized to request a psychological evaluation of a student who violates this policy when, in their opinion, such an evaluation will assist in assessing the risk the student poses to school safety if the student were to remain in school or return to school after a suspension or expulsion.

All such evaluations shall be performed at the school unit’s expense. If the parents/legal guardians and/or student refuse to permit a requested psychological evaluation, the Superintendent and the Board may draw any reasonable inferences from the student’s behavior concerning the risk the student poses to school safety for purposes of determining appropriate action.

Students with disabilities shall be disciplined in accordance with applicable federal and state laws/regulations and Board Policy JKF.

B  Volunteers 

Volunteers who violate this policy may, at the Superintendent and building administrator’s discretion, have their volunteer authorization revoked or restricted, depending on the circumstances of the particular case.

Violations of this policy by volunteers may also be referred to law enforcement authorities.

C.  Visitors

Visitors who violate this policy may be required to leave school property and law enforcement may be notified of violations.

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