Wednesday, January 31, 2018

State chief justice scolds DHHS over disputed adoption

ROCKLAND — The chief justice of the state's highest court has criticized the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for its handling of the adoption of a Knox County child.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday, Jan. 30, in a disputed case of competing families wanting to adopt a 2-year-old girl.

More >> State chief justice scolds DHHS over disputed adoption

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

School lunch debt a problem for Portland students, schools

PORTLAND — Even though more than half of students in the Portland Public Schools qualify for a free or reduced-cost lunch, the schools are still carrying a significant load when it comes to unpaid school meal debt.

The School Department is facing a $6,000 shortfall and at the end of the past fiscal year last June, it was forced to cover $20,000 in unpaid meals, according to Food Services Director Jane McLucas.

More >> School lunch debt a problem for Portland students, schools

Monday, January 29, 2018

Longtime Maine educator charged with sexual assault



A longtime educator in southern Aroostook County was arrested Thursday in connection with multiple accounts of unlawful sexual contact after a weeklong investigation by the Houlton Police Department.

James J. Rochford, 75, was charged with three counts of unlawful sexual contact, one count of furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol and one count of furnishing liquor to a minor, Houlton police Chief Tim DeLuca said Monday.

More >> Longtime Maine educator charged with sexual assault

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Maine bill would allow guns to be carried in cars on school grounds

A similar bill was defeated last year, but supporters are making another effort to pass a measure that would require guns to be unloaded and in a locked container or rack.

More >> Maine bill would allow guns to be carried in cars on school grounds

Maine law would ban sex offenders from taking photos of minors

After several parents said a registered sex offender was taking photos of their children in public places without their consent, a Maine lawmaker is proposing a bill to make that action a crime.

Republican State Rep. Matthew Pouliot’s bill would make it a Class D crime for a sex offender to take a photo of a minor without parental consent.


More >> Maine law would ban sex offenders from taking photos of minors

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lawmakers consider 'food shaming' ban in Maine schools

During a senior class assembly last year at one Maine high school, a principal called forward mortified students to warn them in front of their classmates that they would not be able to graduate if their school lunch debts weren’t paid.

Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, told lawmakers this week that one of those students, a girl in her district, was singled out to her “shame and embarrassment” because she owed $2.10.

More >> Lawmakers consider 'food shaming' ban in Maine schools

Another Study Shows Juvenile Jails, Like Long Creek in Maine, Are Ineffective



Echoing the findings shared at a juvenile justice summit in Maine last Fall, the Muskie School of Public Service and the University of Maine School of Law are calling for a shift away from youth prisons like Long Creek in South Portland to non-residential community-based programs and services. And they’ve produced a report that suggests the transition will save money and produce better outcomes for kids.

It’s part of a national shift in thinking about what’s best for youth in the juvenile justice system. As studies have shown that youth incarceration in large facilities increases recidivism and that more kids of color are often confined, states have moved toward community-based alternatives.

More >> Another Study Shows Juvenile Jails, Like Long Creek in Maine, Are Ineffective




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Maine school board’s refusal to discuss bullying angers parents



The Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit Board of Directors did not allow comments about bullying and other issues at Whitefield Elementary School during its Jan. 11 meeting, despite the presence of parents, teachers, and community members hoping to revisit the issues.

There was standing room only for the meeting at Chelsea Elementary School. The meeting was the board’s first since a contentious Dec. 14 meeting during which, for two hours or so, people shared stories of assault and bullying at Whitefield Elementary.


More >> Maine school board’s refusal to discuss bullying angers parents

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ethical dilemma: Recording students

The parents of Ben Pollack, a nonverbal teenager, want him to carry an audio recorder during the school day to ensure that he is not mistreated. On Monday, a federal appeals court in Boston heard arguments in the case, which was brought after his southern Maine school district, citing the privacy rights of other students, declined permission to record. Roll tape? Here are two views:

More >> Ethical dilemma: Recording students

Friday, January 12, 2018

Number of drug-affected babies born in Maine declines for the first time in over a decade

The decrease to 952 cases in 2017 came after a long period of increases coinciding with rising opioid use, but treatment experts say the epidemic still has the state firmly in its grip.

More >> Number of drug-affected babies born in Maine declines for the first time in over a decade

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Parents fight to record school day of son with disabilities

A Maine teen with autism and a rare neurological syndrome that affects his speaking ability cannot talk to his parents about his school day the same way other students can. So his family is fighting for the right for him to carry an audio-recording device to ensure he's being treated properly when they aren't watching.

More >> Parents fight to record school day of son with disabilities

Thursday, January 4, 2018

LePage sends welfare cash to after-school programs to curb ‘out-of-wedlock pregnancies’

This school year, Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is spending $1.7 million on after-school programs that once would have gone to low-income families with children in the form of cash assistance.

More >> LePage sends welfare cash to after-school programs to curb ‘out-of-wedlock pregnancies’