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Rhode Island prohibits any person from possessing any firearm on school grounds.1 “School grounds” include any property belonging to or being used by a public or private elementary or secondary school, or while riding school provided transportation.2 Concealed handgun license holders, among others, are exempt.3 However, over the years, many schools have adopted policies that ban firearm possession on campus by anyone other than law enforcement. A 2018 directive from the Board of Education extended these restrictions to all schools in order to create a more consistent state policy regarding firearms. 4

If a student possesses a firearm on school premises, including premises used for school activities, a vehicle used for school transportation, or onto a roadway or path along which school children or teachers are walking to school, he or she shall be suspended from school for one year.5 Students are also subject to such suspension if they aim a firearm or realistic firearm replica at school premises, school vehicles, or students, staff or visitors attending school or in transit to or from school.

The term of suspension may be shortened by the superintendent of schools on a case-by-case basis and under guidelines to be developed by the school committee with broad parent, teacher, and community involvement.6


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  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60(a)(1).[]
  2. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60(a)(2).[]
  3. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60(b).[]
  4. Commissioner Ken Wagner, “Firearms in Schools,” August 29, 2018,[]
  5. R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-21-18.[]
  6. R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-21-18.[]