Kids Legal

Protecting the Rights and Improving the Lives of Maine's Children

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Teens & Kids

Find out about laws that affect you.

Student Rights

We hope not, but if you are, you have a right to be heard. These are your rights, no matter how young or old you are. The school must take certain steps to make sure you know what you are being accused of and to give you a chance to tell your side of the story. The steps the school has to take is different depending upon whether you are facing a suspension for 10 school days or less or a suspension or expulsion that will last longer than 10 school days.

Maine children have the right to attend public school even though they don't have a permanent or regular place to live.

Maine law says you must go to the school district where parent or legal guardian lives, unless you are 18 years old or emancipated. If you are 18 or emancipated, you go to the school district where you live. There are exceptions to the general rule. These exceptions let you go to school in a different school district from where you parent or legal guardian lives. Read more here to learn if any of these exceptions apply to you.

What to Wear in Court

Going to Court: It's Not Like Going Out When you go to Court, you will be "judged." How you present yourself is very important. Things you care about are at stake, such as your freedom, where you live, your right to drive, and/or your money. The more you show that you care, the better off you will be. Here are some tips.

Run Away/Emancipation

emancipation order
When you are under 18 years old, your parents or legal guardians are the ones who make decisions for you. You are automatically a legal adult in Maine when you turn 18. In order to have the rights of an adult before you turn 18, you must be emancipated. In Maine, there are two ways to become emancipated. In both cases, you must be 16 years old.
Learn what your rights are if you run away. Also find out where you may be able to go for help.

Please watch this short video produced by the Bellefaire JCB project in Cleveland.  Kids are homeless for many reasons.

Rights When Accused of Criminal Activity

If you are charged adjudicated as a juvenile or convicted as an adult of a crime, there may be long-term consequences for you. A criminal conviction or juvenile adjudication can impact your life in terms of financial issues, housing or other ways. These consequences occur after the fact; in other words, after the conviction or adjudication, and can last a long time. Learn more about juvenile adjudications, juvenile records and collateral consequences here.
Students can be charged with a juvenile crime for something they do at school. Many schools have “school resource officers” (or SROs). What a student says to an SRO, school staff and other students can be used against him or her in juvenile court. To learn more, read here.