Learn about your rights or your child’s rights at school: special education, truancy, enrollment, discipline

Rights of Special Education Students during COVID-19

Posted and up-to-date on 8/26/2020 - Cross posted on What do I need to know? There is still a lot of uncertainty around what school will look like in the Fall. What will happen at your child’s school will depend on where you live in Maine.  

School Searches and Seizure

Can a student be searched at school and have their property taken? Students have an “expectation of privacy” that applies outside and on school property. However, there are different rules for the different locations. There are also different rules based on who is doing the search and what item is being searched.  

Special Education: Timelines

Special Education Timelines There are many indications that a child may need to additional services and support as a special education student. Some of those signs may be: Trouble with school work such as in reading or math Conflict with peers or adults Challenging behaviors that are having on impact on the child being able to access their education A diagnosis of Autism or developmental delays

Special Education Discipline: Suspensions and Expulsions

Is disciplining a special education student different than a non-special education student? Yes! Special education students have more protections when facing discipline at school. The purpose of those protections is to make sure that a child is not missing many days of the services that they need. The protections also make sure that students with disabilities are not being disciplined due to their disability.  

Special Education: When Parents and Schools Disagree

Special Education: When Parents and Schools Disagree   One job of an Individual Education Program (IEP) Team is to work together to develop appropriate programming for the child. While sometimes the team agrees, there are times when the parent and school do not agree. If the issue cannot be worked out within the IEP Team meeting, the Individual’s with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allows for three different ways to solve the problem. They are: Mediation Complaint

School Bullying

Bullying, Hazing, and School Policies Bullying Defined Bullying can be words, acts, gestures, or writings (on paper, cell phone or computer) that is directed at your child.  Those behaviors must cause your child to: •be physically injured or •have their property damaged OR, as a "reasonable person" be in fear of being hurt or having their property damaged OR, cause your child to: •not do well academically •not go to school •not be in school activities, or

My Child Wants To Drop Out of School

What do I need to know if my child wants to drop out of school? You are responsible for making sure your child goes to school. There is the possibility that the school district will bring a court case against you if your child is truant. The best thing you can do is to work with the school and your child to develop an alternative school plan. Required school age In Maine, your child must go to school from the time they are 7 years old until they are 17 years old.


What is truancy? If your child is at least 7 years old or they have not finished 6th grade, they are truant if they have: 5 unexcused absences from school in a row or 7 unexcused absences from school in one school year If your child has finished 6th grade and is not 17 years old yet, they are truant if they have:

Special Education Language

When entering the world of special education it can feel like people are speaking a different language. This guide will help you understand some of the common terms used by special education professionals. Each of these terms are defined in Maine’s Uniform Special Education Regulations or in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Suspension and Expulsion

Suspensions A suspension means a student is temporarily prohibited from going to regular classes and/or school. A student does not have to be sent home to be considered "suspended" under Maine law. In Maine, a student can be suspended for any of these activities at a school function or on school grounds: