ROCKLAND — The Rockland area school district’s top administrators met this week with law enforcement leaders and social service officials to discuss the problem of juvenile criminal behavior in the community.

“We are all basically trying to wrap our heads around the issue and what services can be provided,” Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald told Board members at their Wednesday night, Nov. 9 meeting.

The other meeting was held at the Rockland office of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Attending were McDonald and Assistant Superintendent Steffany Tribou, Rockland Police Chief Tim Carroll, DHHS representatives, a representative of the Knox County District Attorney’s Office, state legislators, and a representative from the Landing Place in Rockland which serves young people who are homeless or marginalized.

“It was a good meeting. As an outgrowth of that we plan to have a smaller subcommittee get together and look at resources for programs that we can offer to kids through our partner agencies or the schools,” McDonald said.

The legislators were receptive, he said, about the need for funding for programs to serve these students.

The superintendent said the district has been taking disciplinary action against students when incidents occur in the schools. He said this is not seen in the community because such actions are confidential as they involve young people.

The superintendent said that a parent advisory group is forming and that at a meeting this week, 40 people attended and many offered to help.

“In my opinion this is one of the best things I have heard, parents coming forward and asking how they can help,” McDonald said.

“We don’t have a huge number of kids who are out of control but we do have a number of kids who have significant issues including mental health. It’s not a secret. It’s happening statewide, it’s happening nationally,” the superintendent said.

He said the district will work with partner agencies, work with parents, and follow the district’s policies.

He said there may be some instances where the Board will have to expel students.

“I don’t like that but it’s a reality,” he said.

But, he said, that some comments on social media frustrates him.

“These young people need help, understanding and support, not an iron hand,” McDonald said. “We are firm but fair. That is what is needed.”