Policies - Section 5000 » 5013 - Use of Restraints and Seclusion

5013 - Use of Restraints and Seclusion

5013 Use of Restraints and Seclusion 5013

A. Definitions:

1. “Restraint” means bodily physical restriction, mechanical devices, or any device that immobilizes a person or restricts the freedom of movement of the torso, head, arms, or legs. It includes mechanical restraint, physical restraint, and medication restraint used to control behavior in an emergency or any involuntary medication. It is limited to actions taken by persons who are school or facility staff members, contractors, or otherwise under the control or direction of a school facility.

2.  “Restraint” shall not include:

a.  Brief touching or holding to calm, comfort, encourage, or guide a child, so long as limitation of freedom of movement of the child does not occur.

b.  The temporary holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder or back for the purpose of inducing a child to stand, if necessary, and then walk to a safe location, so long as the child is in an upright position moving toward a safe location.

c.  Physical devices, such as orthopedically prescribed appliances, surgical dressings and bandages, and supportive body bands, or other physical holding when necessary for routine physical examinations and tests or for orthopedic, surgical, and other similar medical treatment purposes, or when used to provide support for the achievement of functional body position or proper balance or to protect a person from falling out of bed, or to permit a child to participate in activities without the risk of physical harm.

d.  The use of seat belts, safety belts, or similar passenger restraints during the transportation of a child in a motor vehicle.

e.  The use of force by a person to defend himself or herself or a third person from what the actor reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force by a child, when the actor uses a degree of such force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose and the actor does not immobilize a child or restrict the freedom of movement of the torso, head, arms, or legs of any child.

3. “Medication restraint” occurs when a child is given medication involuntarily for the purpose of immediate control of the child’s behavior.

4. “Mechanical restraint” occurs when a physical device or devices are used to restrict the movement of a child or the movement or normal function of a portion of his or her body.

5. “Physical restraint” occurs when a manual method is used to restrict a child’s freedom of movement or normal access to his or her body.

6. “Seclusion” means the involuntary placement of a child alone in a place where no other person is present and from which the particular child is unable to exit, either due to physical manipulation by a person, a lock, or other mechanical device or barrier. The term shall not include the voluntary separation of a child from a stressful environment for the purpose of allowing the child to regain self-control, when such separation is to an area which a child is able to leave. Seclusion does not include circumstances in which there is no physical barrier between the child and any other person or the child is physically able to leave the place. A circumstance may be considered seclusion even if a window or other device for visual observation is present, if the other elements of this definition are satisfied.

B. Procedures for Managing the Behavior of Students:

The Superintendent/designee is authorized to establish procedures for managing the behavior. Such procedures shall be consistent with this policy and all applicable laws. The Superintendent/designee is further authorized to establish any other procedures necessary to implement this policy and/or any other legal requirements.

C. Circumstances in Which Restraint May Be Used:

Restraint will only be used to ensure the immediate physical safety of any person when there is a substantial and imminent risk of serious bodily harm to the student or others.

Restraint will only be used by trained school staff. Trained staff are those individuals who successfully complete and stay current in a training program that results in acquisition of skills in preventing restraints, evaluating risk of harm in an individual situation, use of approved techniques, and monitoring the effect of the restraint. The District shall identify personnel to be trained in the use of prevention strategies and physical restraint procedures. Staff will receive ongoing training to maintain the requirements of the training program chosen by the District.

Restraint will not be used as punishment for the behavior of a student.

Restraint will not be imposed for longer than is necessary to protect the student or others from the substantial and imminent risk of serious bodily harm.

No period of restraint of a student may exceed 15 minutes without the approval of a supervisory employee designated by the director to provide such approval. No period of restraint of a student may exceed 30 minutes unless an assessment of the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the student is conducted by a trained and authorized employee.

D. Circumstances in Which Seclusion May Be Used:

The School Board recognizes the statutorily imposed conditions of seclusions and hereby adopts those conditions as defined by RSA 126-U:5-b, Conditions of Seclusion.

I. Seclusion may only be imposed in rooms which:
  1. Are of a size which is appropriate for the chronological and developmental age, size, and behavior of the children placed in them.
  2. Have a ceiling height that is comparable to the ceiling height of the other rooms in the building in which they are located.
  3. Are equipped with heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems that are comparable to the systems that are in use in the other rooms of the building in which they are located.
  4. Are free of any object that poses a danger to the children being placed in the rooms.
  5. Have doors which are either not equipped with locks, or are equipped with devices that automatically disengage the lock in case of an emergency. For the purposes of this subparagraph, an “emergency” includes, but is not limited to:
    • The need to provide direct and immediate medical attention to a child.
    • The need to remove a child to a safe location during a building lockdown.
    • Other critical situations that may require immediate removal of a child from seclusion to a safe location.
  6. Are equipped with unbreakable observation windows or equivalent devices to
    allow the safe, direct, and uninterrupted observation of every part of the room.
II. Each use of seclusion shall be directly and continuously visually and auditorially monitored by a person trained in the safe use of seclusion.
Seclusion may only be used when a student’s behavior poses a substantial and imminent risk of physical harm to the student or others.
Seclusion will be used only by trained school staff.
Seclusion will not be used as a form of punishment for the behavior of a student.

E. Prohibition of Dangerous Restraint Techniques:

The School Board recognizes and hereby prohibits the user of “dangerous restraint techniques” as defined in RSA 126-U:4, Prohibition of Dangerous Restraint techniques. No school or facility shall use or threaten to use any of the following restraint and behavior control techniques:

I. Any physical restraint or containment technique that:
  1. Obstructs a child’s respiratory airway or impairs the child’s breathing or respiratory capacity or restricts the movement required for normal breathing;
  2. Places pressure or weight on, or causes the compression of the chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen of a child;
  3. Obstructs the circulation of blood;
  4. Involves pushing on or into the child’s mouth, nose, eyes, or any part of the face or involves covering the face or body with anything, including soft objects such as pillows, blankets, or washcloths; or
  5. Endangers a child’s life or significantly exacerbates a child’s medical condition.

II. the intentional infliction of pain, including the use of pain inducement to obtain compliance.

III. the intentional release of noxious, toxic, caustic, or otherwise unpleasant substances near a child for the purpose of controlling or modifying the behavior of or punishing the child.

IV. Any technique that unnecessarily subjects the child to ridicule, humiliation, or emotional trauma.

F. Reporting Requirements and Parental Notification:

I. Pursuant to RSA 126-U:14, the school shall review the individualized education program (IEP) or section 504 of a child with a disability following the first use of restraint or seclusion on the child, or upon request of the child’s parent or guardian, and make adjustments to the IEP or 504 plan as indicated to reduce the future use of restraint or seclusion.

II. A school employee has a duty to report a violation of RSA 126-U when that person has reason to believe that the action of another constituted a violation of RSA 126-U and misconduct or suspected misconduct, pursuant to Ed 510.

III. In the event restraint or seclusion is used on a student, the building principal/designee will, within 24 hours, verbally notify the student’s parents/guardian of the occurrence.

The building principal/designee, will within 5 business days after the occurrence, submit a written notification/report to the Superintendent/designee. The notification shall contain all the requirements and information as mandated by RSA 126-U:7,II, Notice and Record-Keeping Requirements.
IV. A facility employee or school employee who uses restraint, or if the facility employee or school employee is unavailable, a supervisor of such employee, shall, within 5 business days after the occurrence, submit a written notification containing the following information to the director or his or her designee:
  1. The date, time, and duration of the use of restraint.
  2. A description of the actions of the child before, during, and after the occurrence.
  3. A description of any other relevant events preceding the use of restraint including the justification for initiating the uses of restraint.
  4. The names of the persons involved in the occurrence.
  5. A description of the actions of the facility or school employees involved before, during, and after the occurrence.
  6. A description of any interventions used prior to the use of the restraint.
  7. A description of the restraint used, including any hold used and the reason the hold was necessary.
  8. A description of any injuries sustained by, and any medical care administered to, the child, employees, or others before, during and after the use of restraint.
  9. A description of any property damage associated with the occurrence.
  10. A description of actions taken to address the emotional needs of the child during and following the restraint incident.
  11. A description of future actions to be taken to control the child’s problem behaviors.
  12. The name and position of the employee completing the notification.
  13. The anticipated date of the final report.

The Superintendent/designee may develop a reporting form or other documents necessary to satisfy these reporting requirements.
Unless prohibited by court order, the Superintendent/designee will, within 2 business days of receipt of the notification required in the above paragraph, send by first class mail to the child’s parent/guardian the information contained in the notification/report. Each notification/report prepared under this section shall be retained by the school for review in accordance with state board of education rules and the department of health and human services rules.

If a school employee has intentional physical contact with a student in response to a student’s aggressive misconduct or disruptive behavior, the building principal/designee will make reasonable efforts to inform the student’s parent/guardian as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the school day or the time of the return of the child to the parent/guardian, whichever is earlier. The building principal/designee will also prepare a written report of the incident within five business days of the incident. The report will include information required under RSA 126-U:7,V, Notice and Record-Keeping Requirements.

In any case requiring notification under paragraph IV, the school or facility shall, within 5 business days of the occurrence, prepare a written description of the incident. Such description shall include at least the following information:
  1. The date and time of the incident.
  2. A brief description of the actions of the child before, during, and after the occurrence.
  3. The names of the persons involved in the occurrence.
  4. A brief description of the actions of the facility or school employees involved before, during, and after the occurrence.
  5. A description of any injuries sustained by, and any medical care administered to, the child, employees, or others before, during, or after the incident.
G. Transportation: (RSA 126-U:12)

The school district will not use mechanical restraints during the transportation of children unless case-specific circumstances dictate that such methods are necessary.

Whenever a student is transported to a location outside the school, the Superintendent/designee will ensure that all reasonable and appropriate measures consistent with public safety are made to transport or escort the student in a manner which:
  1. Prevents physical and psychological trauma;
  2. Respects the privacy of the child; and
  3. Represents the least restrictive means necessary for the safety of the child.
Whenever a student is transported using mechanical restraints, the Superintendent/designee will document in writing the reasons for the use of the mechanical restraints.
Reference: RSA: 126-U, Limiting the Use of Child Restraint Practices
Adopted: 4/11
Revised: 1/2015, 1/2018