3246 Use of Isolation, Restraint and Other Uses of Reasonable Force

  • It is the policy of the Yelm Community Schools Board of Directors that the district maintains a safe learning environment while treating all students with dignity and respect. All students in the district, including those who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or plan developed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, will remain free from unreasonable restraint, restraint devices, isolation, and other uses of physical force during school-sponsored instruction and activities.  Under no circumstances will these techniques be used as a form of discipline or punishment.

    This policy is intended to address district students while participating in school-sponsored instruction or activities. It is not intended to prevent or limit the use of restraint or other reasonable force as necessary with other adults or other youth from outside the district as allowed by law.

    Use of restraint, isolation, and other forms of reasonable force may be used on any student when reasonably necessary to control spontaneous behavior that poses an “imminent likelihood of serious harm” as defined by RCW 70.96B.010 and Chapter 392-172A WAC and explained in the procedure accompanying this policy.  Serious harm includes physical harm to self, another, or district property. Staff will closely monitor such actions to prevent harm to the student and will use the minimum amount of restraint and isolation appropriate to protect the safety of students and staff.  The restraint, isolation, and other forms of reasonable force will be discontinued when the likelihood of serious harm has dissipated. 

    The superintendent or a designee will develop procedures to implement this policy, including review, reporting and parent/guardian notification of incidents involving restraint or isolation as required by law.

    Cross References:   
    Policy 2161         Special Education and Related Services for Eligible Students

    Legal References: 
    RCW 9A.16.020             Use of Force – When lawful
    RCW 9A.16.100             Use of Force on Children – Policy – Actions presumed unreasonable
    RCW 28A.150.300         Corporal Punishment Prohibited – Adoption of policy
    RCW 28A.155.210         Use of restraint or isolation – Requirement for procedures to notify parent or guardian
    RCW 28A.600.485         Restraint of students with individualized education programs or plans developed under section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973 — Procedures [as amended by SHB 1240]
    RCW 70.96B.010           Definitions
    WAC 392-172A               Rules for the provision of special education
    WAC 392-400-235         Discipline – Conditions and limitations

    Management Resources:   
    Policy News                               December 2008    
    Policy and Legal News         July 2013; July 2014; July 2015; March 2016

    ADOPTED: 11/26/2013
    REVISED: 8/28/14; 4/28/16; 9/22/16

    Procedure No. 3246P Use of Isolation, Restraint, and Other Uses of Reasonable Force
    This procedure is intended to apply to a broad range of circumstances whenever it is deemed reasonably necessary by district staff to control spontaneous behavior by any student that poses an imminent likelihood of serious harm. This procedure is intended to be interpreted consistent with the requirements of RCW 28A.600.485, RCW 9A.16.020, RCW 9A.16.100, RCW 28A.160.300, RCW 28A.155.210, WAC 392-400-235, and, for students with an IEP, consistent with the regulations of Chapter 392-172A, WAC.   

    Definitions:

    • Behavioral intervention plan: A plan incorporated into a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), which at a minimum describes: 1)The pattern of behavior that impedes the student’s learning or the learning of others; 2)The instruction and/or environmental conditions or circumstances that contribute to the pattern of behavior(s) being addressed by the IEP team; 3)The positive behavioral interventions and supports to: i) reduce the pattern of behavior(s) that impedes the student’s learning or the learning of others and increases the student’s desired prosocial behaviors:  and ii) ensure the consistency of the implementation of the positive behavioral interventions across the student’s school-sponsored instruction or activities); and d)The skills that will be taught and monitored as alternatives to challenging behavior(s) for a specific pattern of behavior of the student.

    • Chemical spray: Pepper spray, OCspray, or other similar chemicals that are used to control a student or limit a student’s freedom of movement.

    • De-escalation: The use of positive behavioral interventions and other district-approved strategies to defuse a student who has lost self-control, is non-compliant or is demonstrating unacceptable behavior. These strategies address behavior that is dangerous, disruptive or otherwise impedes the learning of a student or others.

    • Imminent: The state or condition of being likely to occur at any moment or near at hand, rather than distant or remote.

    • Isolation: Restricting a student alone within a room or any other form of enclosure, from which the student may not leave.  It does not include a student’s voluntary use of a quiet space for self-calming, or temporary removal of a student from their regular instructional area to an unlocked area for purposes of carrying out an appropriate positive behavior intervention plan.

    • Likelihood of serious harm: A substantial risk that physical harm will be inflicted by a student:

      • upon their own person, as evidenced by threats or attempts to commit suicide or inflict physical harm on oneself;

      • upon another, as evidenced by behavior that has caused such harm or that places another person or persons in reasonable fear of sustaining such harm;

      • upon the property of others, as evidenced by behavior that has caused substantial loss or damage to the property of others; or

      • after the student has threatened the physical safety of another and has a history of one or more violent acts.


    • Physical force: The use of bodily force or physical restriction that substantially immobilizes or reduces the free movement of a student.

    • Positive behavioral interventions: Strategies and instruction that can be implemented in a strategic manner in order to provide alternatives to challenging behaviors, reinforce desired behaviors, and reduce or eliminate the frequency and severity of challenging behaviors. Positive behavioral interventions include the consideration of environmental factors that may trigger challenging behaviors and teaching a student the skills to manage their own behavior.

    • Restraint: Physical intervention or force used to control a student, including the use of a restraint device to restrict a student’s freedom of movement. It does not include appropriate use of a prescribed medical, orthopedic or therapeutic device when used as intended, such as to achieve proper body position, balance or alignment or to permit a student to safely participate in activities.

    • Restraint Device: A device used to assist in controlling a student, including but not limited to metal handcuffs, plastic ties, ankle restraints, leather cuffs, other hospital-type restraints, pepper spray, tasers or batons. Restraint device does not mean a seat harness used to safely transport students.

    • School police officer: An employee of the school district responsible for security services in the district under the direction of a school administrator, but who also is a commissioned officer.

    • School resource officer: A commissioned law enforcement officer who provides law enforcement services and may perform other duties for the district, and is assigned by the employing police department or agency to work in collaboration with the district.

    • School security officer: A classified or contracted school district employee other than a school resource officer who provides security services in the district under the direction of a school administrator.

    General use of restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable force:

    • Restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable force may be used to prevent or minimize imminent bodily harm to self or others, or if de-escalation or other positive behavioral interventions fail or are inappropriate, to protect district property, where there is an “imminent likelihood of such serious harm” occurring, as defined above.

    • Restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force may be used when a student has caused a substantial loss or damage to the property of others, and the student’s behavior poses a substantial risk that such property damage will be inflicted.

    • Restraint devices may be used as needed to obtain possession of a known or reasonably-suspected weapon or other dangerous object on a person or within the control of a person.

    • An IEP or plan developed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 must not include the use of restraint or isolation as a planned behavior intervention unless a student’s individual needs require more specific advanced education planning and the student’s parent or guardian agrees. Nothing in these procedures is intended to limit the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

    • Restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force will not be used as a form of discipline or punishment.

    • Restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force will not be used as an initial response to destruction of property, school disruption, refusal of the student to comply with school rules or a staff directive; or a verbal threat that does not constitute a threat of imminent bodily injury, unless other forms of de-escalation and positive behavioral interventions fail or are inappropriate.

    • Restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force will not be used as a form of discipline or punishment. Any use of restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force will be monitored by trained staff to prevent harm to the student and will be discontinued as soon as the likelihood for serious harm has dissipated.

    Practices presumed to be unreasonable when correcting or restraining any child (RCW 9A.16.100):

    Under RCW 9A.16.100, the following is a non-exclusive list of acts that are presumed unreasonable when correcting or restraining a child:

    • throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child;

    • striking a child with a closed fist;

    • shaking a child under age three;

    • interfering with a child’s breathing;

    • threatening a child with a deadly weapon; or

    • doing any other act that is likely to cause bodily harm to a student greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks.

    This non-exclusive list should not be read so as to imply that another, unlisted form of correction or restraint is permissible. Whether or not an unlisted use of force or restraint is presumptively permissible depends upon a balanced consideration of all relevant state laws and regulations, and whether the use is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.

    Conditions specific to use of isolation with students eligible for special education (consistent with WAC 392-172A-02110):

    • The isolation enclosure will be ventilated, lighted and temperature controlled from inside or outside for purposes of human occupancy.

    • The isolation enclosure will permit continuous visual monitoring of the student from outside the enclosure.

    • An adult responsible for supervising the student will remain in visual or auditory range of the student at all times.

    • Either the student shall be capable of releasing himself or herself from the enclosure, or the student shall continuously remain within view of an adult responsible for supervising the student.

    • Any staff member or other adults using isolation must be trained and certified by a qualified provider in the use of isolation, unless trained personnel are not immediately available due to the unforeseeable nature of the emergency.

    Prohibited practices involving restraint, use of force, and discipline specifically for students eligible for special education (consistent with WAC 392-172A-02076):

    The following practices are prohibited with students eligible for special education services:

    • District personnel are prohibited from using aversive interventions with a student;

    • District personnel are prohibited from physically restraining or isolating any student, except when the student’s behavior poses an imminent likelihood of serious harm as defined above;

    • No student may be stimulated by contact with electric current, including, but not limited to, tasers;

    • A student may not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of food or liquid from when the food or liquid is customarily served as a form of punishment;

    • A student may not be the recipient of force or restraint that is either unreasonable under the circumstances or deemed to be an unreasonable form of corporal punishment as a matter of state law (see above, for example, for a list of practices presumed to be unreasonable when used in correcting or restraining a child);

    • A student must not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of common hygiene care;

    • A student must not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of medication;

    • A student may not be excluded from their regular instructional or service area and isolated within a room or any other form of enclosure, except under the conditions set forth in WAC 392-172A-02110;

    • A student must not be forced to listen to noise or sound that the student finds painful;

    • A student must not be forced to smell or be sprayed in the face with a noxious or potentially harmful substance;

    • A student must not be forced to taste or ingest a substance which is not commonly consumed or which is not commonly consumed in its existing form or concentration;

    • A student’s head must not be partially or wholly submerged in water or any other liquid.

    • A student must not be physically restrained or immobilized by binding or otherwise attaching the student’s limbs together or by binding or otherwise attaching any part of the student’s body to an object, except under the conditions set forth in WAC 392-172A.02110.

    Monitoring

    An adult must continually monitor any student when restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force is used. The monitoring must be conducted by continuous visual monitoring of the student. Monitoring must include regularly evaluating the student for signs of physical distress.

    Notification of Parents/Guardians

    After any incident involving the use of isolation, restraint, or other forms of reasonable physical force, the principal or designee will:

    • Make a reasonable effort to verbally inform the student’s parent/guardian of the incident within 24 hours of its occurrence; and

    • Send written notification of the incident to the student’s parent/guardian as soon as possible, but postmarked no later than five (5) business days after its occurrence.

    If the school or district customarily provides the parent or guardian with school-related information in a language or mode of communication other than English, the written report must be provided to the parent or guardian in that language or mode of communication.

    Incident review

    Following the use of isolation, restraint, or other forms of reasonable physical force, the school will:

    • Review the incident with the student and the parent or guardian (though not necessarily at the same time) to address the behavior that precipitated the use of the technique and the appropriateness of the response; and

    • Review the incident with the staff person(s) who administered the restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force to discuss whether proper procedures were followed and what staff training or support is needed to help the student avoid similar incidents.
    • 504 plans will include the above procedures for notification of parents/guardians regarding the use of isolation and restraint on their student.

    Incident report

    Any school employee, school resource officer or school security officer who uses restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force, as defined in this procedure, on a student during school-sponsored instruction or activities, will inform the principal or a designee as soon as possible and within two (2) business days submit a written report of the incident to the district office.  The written report will contain, at a minimum:

    • The date and time of the incident;

    • The name and job title of the staff member who administered the restraint, isolation, or other form of reasonable physical force;

    • A description of the activity that led to the restraint, isolation, or other form of reasonable physical force;

    • The type of restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force used on the student, and the duration;

    • Whether the student or staff was physically injured during incident involving restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force;

    • Any medical care provided to the student or staff; and

    • Any recommendations for changing the nature or amount of resources available to the student and staff members in order to avoid similar incidents.

    Resolution of concerns about the use of force incident

    A student or their parent or guardian who has concerns regarding a specific incident involving restraint, isolation, or other forms of reasonable physical force may seek to resolve the concern by using the district’s complaint process which is set forth in Policy 4220, Complaints Concerning Staff or Programs.

    Providing parents/guardians with Restraint, Isolation, and Other Use of Reasonable Force policy

    The district will make available to all parents/guardians of students the district’s policy on Restraint, Isolation and Other Use of Reasonable Force.  If the student has an IEP or 504 plan, the District will provide the parents/guardians a copy of the policy each time an initial or annual IEP or 504 plan is developed.

    Staff training requirements

    Any staff member or other adult using isolation, restraint, or other form of reasonable force must be trained and certified by a qualified provider, or otherwise available in the case of an emergency when trained personnel are not immediately available due to the unforeseeable nature of the emergency.

    Annual Report to the Office for Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

    The district will summarize the written reports that it receives and submit the summaries to OSPI. In its report to OSPI, the district will include the:

    • Number of individual incidents of restraint and isolation;

    • Number of students involved in the incidents;

    • Number of injuries to students and staff; and

    • The types of restraint or isolation used.


    ADOPTED: 11/26/2013
    REVISED: 4/28/16; 9/22/16

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