AUGUSTA— Schools will have to hold lockdown drills under a new Maine law.

Democratic Sen. Nate Libby’s bill went into law last week without Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s signature. It directs the Maine Department of Education to rewrite it rules to require schools to hold lockdown drills in addition to fire and other emergency evacuation drills.

The department supported the bill, telling lawmakers that many school administrative units already conduct lockdown drills. The number of drills that schools are required to hold each year won’t change.

The Maine Fire Chiefs’ Association said it supported lockdown drills but expressed concern about schools potentially reducing the number of fire drills they conduct. Libby says he believes local officials can find the right balance and ensure the drills don’t take away additional classroom time.

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