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Use of Physical Restraint and Seclusion


Maine School Administrative District No. #31    


The Board has adopted this policy and the accompanying procedures to implement the standards for use of physical restraint and seclusion with students, as required by state law and regulations, and to support a safe school environment.  Physical restraint and seclusion, as defined by this policy, may only be used as an emergency intervention when the behavior of a student presents an imminent risk of injury or harm to the student or others.

The Superintendent has overall responsibility for implementing this policy and the accompanying procedure, but may delegate specific responsibilities as he/she deems appropriate.


    The following definitions apply to this policy and procedure:

    A.    Physical restraint:  An intervention that restricts a student’s freedom of movement or normal access to his or her body, and
           includes physically moving a student who has not moved voluntarily.

        Physical restraint does not include any of the following:

            1.    Physical escort: A temporary touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, hip or back for the purpose of moving a
                   student voluntarily.

            2.    Physical prompt:  A teaching technique that involves physical contact with the student and that enables the student to learn
                   or model the physical movement necessary for the development of the desired competency.

            3.    Physical contact:  When the purpose of the intervention is to comfort a student and the student voluntarily accepts the

            4.    Momentarily deflecting the movement of a student when the student’s movements would be destructive, harmful or
                   dangerous to the student or others.

            5.    The use of seat belts, safety belts or similar passenger restraints, when used as intended during the transportation of
                   a child in a motor vehicle.

            6.    The use of a medically prescribed harness, when used as intended; the use of protective equipment or devices that are part
                   of a treatment plan prescribed by a licensed health care provider; or prescribed assistive devices when used as prescribed
                  and supervised by qualified and trained individuals.

            7.    Restraints used by law enforcement officers [OR , if the school unit has school resource officers, include:  or school resource
                   officers employed by a police department] in the course of their professional duties are not subject to this policy/procedure
                   or MDOE Rule Chapter 33.  [NOTE:  Local school boards should review their existing policies on relations with law
                   enforcement and/or SROs to ensure that they are consistent with this policy/procedure.  At a minimum, a cross reference
                   to this policy/procedure should be added.  Local boards that have not adopted a policy/procedure on law enforcement are
                   encouraged to do so.  Specific questions about this exception in Chapter 33 should be directed to legal counsel.]

            8.    MDOE Rule Chapter 33 does not restrict or limit the protections available to school officials under 20-A M.R.S.A. § 4009,
                   but those protections do not relieve school officials from complying with this policy/procedure.

    B.    Seclusion:  The involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or clearly defined area from which the student is physically
           prevented from leaving, with no other person in the room or area with the student.

        Seclusion does not include:

        1.    Timeout:  An intervention where a student requests, or complies with an adult request for, a break.


    The requirements for implementing physical restraint and seclusion, as well as incident notices, documentation and reporting are
    included in the accompanying procedure, JKAA-R.

    MSAD #31 shall provide annual notice to parents/legal guardians of this policy/procedure by means determined by the
    Superintendent/designee. [NOTE: Local boards should consider how best to provide notice to parents/legal guardians.  For parents,
    suggestions include providing the policy/procedure in the first-day packet or inclusion in student handbooks.  Information can also
    be provided on the school unit’s website, but at this point in time we do not recommend that the website be the sole method of
    disseminating information to families.]


    A.    All school staff and contracted providers shall receive an annual overview of this policy/procedure.

    B.    MSAD #31 will ensure that there are a sufficient number of administrators/designees, special education and other staff who
            maintain certification in a restraint and seclusion training program approved by the Maine Department of Education.  A list of
            certified staff shall be updated annually and maintained in the Superintendent’s Office, in each school office and in the school
            unit’s Emergency Management Plan. [NOTE: Local boards should ensure that this information is included in the school unit’s
            emergency management plan system-wide and in any specific safety/emergency plans for individual schools.


    A parent/legal guardian who has a complaint concerning the implementation of this policy/procedure must submit it in writing to the
    Superintendent OR: (Director of Educational Resources) as soon as possible.  The Superintendent/designee shall investigate the
    complaint and provide written findings to the parent/legal guardian within twenty (20) business days, if practicable.  [NOTE:  Chapter     33 does not contain a specific time limit for local school units to respond to parental complaints.  We have inserted a time limit for
    discussion purposes, but local boards should discuss what makes sense for their school unit.  For ease of administration, it may make
    sense to make the deadline consistent with other complaint procedures, such as the employee and student discrimination/harassment
    complaint procedures.]

    A parent/legal guardian who is dissatisfied with the result of the local complaint process may file a complaint with the Maine
    Department of Education.  The Department of Education will review the results of the local complaint process and may initiate its own
    investigation at its sole discretion.  The Department shall issue a written report with specific findings to the parent/legal guardian
    and the school unit within 60 calendar days of receiving the complaint.

Legal Reference:    20-A M.R.S.A. §§ 4502(5) (M); 4009
                            Me. DOE Rule, ch. 33

Cross Reference:    EBCA – Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
                            JKAA-R – Procedures of Physical Restraint and Seclusion
                            JK – Student Discipline
                            KLG/KLG-R – Relations with Law Enforcement [OR:
                            KLGA/KLGA-R – Relations with School Resource Officers]

First Reading:      08/15/2012