JKAA – Use Of Restraint, Seclusion, And Physical Contact

The District and all of its employees and contractors have a duty to maintain an orderly, safe environment that is conducive to learning and the District’s educational mission. Positive behavioral interventions based on the results of behavioral assessment, shall serve as the foundation for any program used to address the behavioral needs of students. When reasonable to do such, staff shall first seek to address a student’s behavioral needs through positive behavioral interventions and supports before resorting to restraint or seclusion.

In circumstances defined by this policy, restraint or seclusion of a student will become necessary for the District to fulfill its duty to maintain a safe and orderly environment. However, restraint or seclusion shall only be used when needed to protect the student or others from a substantial and imminent risk of serious bodily harm.


The use of restraint in schools shall be limited to physical and restraint, and only to the extent permitted by State Law and this policy. “Physical restraint” shall be deemed to have occurred when a manual method is used to restrict a child’s freedom of movement or normal access to his or her body. This includes any manual method that immobilizes a student or restricts their freedom of movement of the torso, head, arms, or legs. Mechanical restraints may be used in the transportation of children when case-specific circumstances dictate that such methods are necessary.

A physical restraint shall only be used:
1. To ensure the immediate physical safety of a person or persons when there is a substantial and imminent risk of serious bodily harm to the child or others; and,
2. By trained personnel using extreme caution when all other interventions have failed or been deemed inappropriate.

The determination of whether the use of restraint is justified shall be made with consideration of all relevant circumstances, including whether continued acts of violence by a child to inflict damage to property will create a substantial risk of serious bodily harm to the child or others.

A restraint shall not be imposed for longer than is necessary to protect the child or others from a substantial and imminent risk of serious bodily harm. Children in restraint shall be the subject of continuous direct observation by personnel trained in the safe use of restraint. No period of restraint of a child may exceed 15 minutes without the approval of the principal or a supervisory employee designated by the principal to provide such approval. No period of restraint of a child may exceed 30 minutes unless a face-to-face assessment of the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the child is conducted by the principal or by a supervisory employee designated by the principal who is trained to conduct such assessments. The assessment shall also include a determination of whether the restraint is being conducted safely and for a purpose authorized by state law. Such assessments shall be repeated at least every 30 minutes during the period of restraint. Each such assessment shall be documented in writing and such records shall be retained by the facility or school as part of the written notification and record-keeping requirements set forth in state law.

Prohibited Forms of Physical Restraint

All district employees and contractors are prohibited from using or threatening to use:
1. Any physical restraint or containment technique that:
a. Obstructs a child’s respiratory airway or impairs the child’s breathing or respiratory capacity, or restricts the movement required for normal breathing;
b. Places pressure or weight on, or causes the compression of, the chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen of a child;
c. Obstructs the circulation of blood;
d. 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 wash clothes; or,
e. Endangers a child’s life significantly or exacerbates a child’s medical condition.
2. The intentional infliction of pain, including the use of pain inducement to obtain compliance.
3. 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.
4. Any technique that unnecessarily subjects the child to ridicule, humiliation, or emotional trauma.
Restraints shall not be used explicitly or implicitly as punishment for a child’s behavior.

Mechanical Restraint

The proper use of seat belts or safety belts while transporting students shall not be deemed mechanical or physical restraint. “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. Mechanical restraint shall only be used in the transportation of children when case-circumstances dictate that such methods are necessary to safely transport the child.

Whenever a child is transported to a location outside a school, the principal or their designee shall ensure that all reasonable and appropriate measures consistent with public safety are made to transport or escort the child in a manner which:
(a) Prevents physical and psychological trauma; (b) Respects the privacy of the child; and (c) Represents the least restrictive means necessary for the safety of the child.

The use of mechanical restraint shall be documented, and notice of such restraint shall be provided to the parents/guardian of the child. The individual or individuals responsible for implementing a mechanical restraint shall be trained in the proper use of the mechanical restraint.

Actions not Deemed Restraint

In accord with state law, the following actions shall not be considered restraint:
(1) 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.
(2) 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 and moving toward a safe location.
(3) 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.
(4) The use of seat belts, safety belts, or similar passenger restraints during the transportation of a child in a motor vehicle.
(5) 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. However, such use of force shall require a report to the parents/guardians of intentional physical contact, as discussed below.

Prohibition of Medical Restraint

Medication restraint is defined in the law as occurring when a child is given medication involuntarily for the purpose of immediate control of the child’s behavior. All schools are prohibited from using medication of any kind as a form of restraint.

This prohibition shall not be interpreted to prohibit the administration by a school nurse of a lawfully prescribed medication for purposes other than medication restraint; provided such occurs in accord with the District’s policies on the administration of medication in the schools and state law pertaining to the administration of medication by a school nurse.


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 fact that the place has a window or other device for visual observation does not serve as an exception to this definition.

Seclusion may only be used when a child’s behavior poses a substantial and imminent risk of physical harm to the child or other others, and may only continue until that danger has dissipated.
Seclusion shall only be used by trained personnel after other approaches to the control of behavior have been attempted and been unsuccessful, or are reasonably concluded to be unlikely to succeed based on the history of actual attempts to control the behavior of a particular child. Each use of seclusion shall be directly and continuously visually and auditorially monitored by a person trained in the safe use of seclusion.

Seclusion shall not be used as a form of punishment or discipline. Seclusion shall not be used in a manner that unnecessarily subjects the child to the risk of ridicule, humiliation, or emotional or physical harm.

Rooms used for seclusion must meet the minimum requirements set forth in RSA 126-U, including having doors which are either not equipped with locks, or are equipped with devices that automatically disengage the lock in case of an emergency. See more specifically RSA 126-U:5.

Parents or guardians should notify their child’s school principal if a court has appointed a guardian ad litem to represent their child’s interests.

Events not deemed Seclusion

Seclusion shall not be deemed to 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; or
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.

Internal and External Reporting

The District shall follow the provisions of RSA 126-U and ED1202.02 with regard to the internal reporting of physical restraint or seclusion as well as the external reporting to parents/guardians. Parents or guardians should notify their child’s school principal if a court has appointed a guardian ad litem to represent their child’s interests.

Oral Reporting
Unless prohibited by court order, the building level administrator shall, as soon as reasonably possible, verbally notify the parent or guardian whenever seclusion or restraint has been used on a child. In no event shall this oral notice be later than the time of the return of the child to the parent or guardian or the end of the school day. Notification shall be made in a manner calculated to give the parent or guardian actual notice of the incident at the earliest practicable time. Any incident of seclusion or restraint involving any injury to anyone (student, employee, or other) shall also be immediately reported to the Superintendent or her designee.

Internal Written Reporting and Notification Form

Within five (5) business days of the use of seclusion or restraint, the school employee that used the seclusion or restraint shall submit a written report to the school principal which contains the information required in RSA 126-U:7 and ED1202.02. The District administration shall develop a reporting and notification form to be used for this written report.

Written Notification of Parents

Unless prohibited by court order, the principal or his or her designee shall, within two (2) business days of receipt of the internal written report set forth above, send or transmit by first class mail or electronic transmission to the child’s parent or guardian and the guardian ad litem the information contained in the internal written reporting and notification form referenced above. The District administration may develop a parental notification form, or may elect to use a single reporting and notification form for both internal and external reporting, but the form shall meet all the requirements of NH RSA 126-U:7(II), RSA 126-U:11 (notification of restraints exceeding 15 and 30 minutes) and ED1202.02. Each notification prepared under this section shall be retained by the school or facility for review in accordance with rules adopted under RSA 541-A by the state board of education and the department of health and human services.

Reporting of Serious Bodily Injury

If an incident of restraint or seclusion results in serious injury or death the Superintendent shall, in addition to the notice set forth above, also notify the commissioner of the department of education, the attorney general, and the state’s federally-designated protection and advocacy agency for individuals with disabilities. Such notice shall include the written notification required for the parents under RSA 126-U:7(II) and ED1202.02.

Intentional Physical Contact

Whenever a school employee or contractor has intentional physical contact with a student which is in response to a student’s aggression, misconduct, or disruptive behavior, the school principal or his/her designee shall make reasonable efforts to promptly notify the student’s parent/guardian. Such notification shall be made no later than the time of the return of the student to the parent/guardian or the end of the business day, whichever is earlier. Notification shall be made in a manner calculated to give the parent/guardian actual notice of the incident at the earliest practicable time. The administration of the District shall develop a form for providing the required written notice to parents, and the content of the notice shall comply with RSA 126-U:7(V) and District policy/procedures.

Other Physical Contact

The following physical contact need not be reported as intentional physical contact:
(a) When a child is escorted from an area by way of holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back to induce the child to walk to a safe location. However, if the child is actively combative, assaultive, or self-injurious while being escorted, the event shall be reported as intentional physical contact;
(b) When actions are taken such as separating children from each other, inducing a child to stand, or otherwise physically preparing a child to be escorted.
(c) When the contact with the child is incidental or minor, such as for the purpose of gaining a misbehaving child’s attention. However, blocking of a blow, forcible release from a grasp, or other significant and intentional physical contact with a disruptive or assaultive child shall be subject to reporting as intentional physical contact.
An incident reported as physical restraint or seclusion need not be reported as intentional physical contact.

Procedures and Forms

The Superintendent and/or his/her designee shall develop written procedures and forms regarding implementation of this policy. The procedures shall be consistent with this policy and all applicable laws and regulations.

IEP Team Review of Record

Upon information that restraint or seclusion has been used for the first time upon a child with a disability as defined in RSA 186-C:2, I or a child who is receiving services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the school shall review the individual educational program and/or Section 504 plan and make such adjustments as are indicated to eliminate or reduce the future use of restraint or seclusion.

A parent or guardian of a child with a disability may request such a review at any time following an instance of restraint or seclusion and such request shall be granted if there have been multiple instances of restraint or seclusion since the last review.

Internal Duty to Report and Complaints

Notice is given in accord with State Department of Education regulations, and RSA 126-U, that the District’s employees have a duty to report to the school administration any violation of RSA 126-U (“Limiting the Use of Child Restraint in Schools and Treatment Facilities”) when that employee has reason to believe that the action of another constitutes a violation of RSA 126-U and rises to the level of misconduct or suspected misconduct pursuant to ED 510. The District expressly prohibits any form of harassment or retaliation for the making of such a report in good faith. Any person may make a complaint of a violation of RSA 126-U to the school principal. Schools shall document receipt of any such complaint, including any complaint they determine does not meet the criteria for a violation of RSA 126-U. The documentation shall include the evidence the principal relied upon, and it shall be forwarded to, and maintained by the District’s administration. The District’s administration, may, at its election, review the building level disposition of the complaint to ensure compliance with RSA 126-U, the state regulations, and this policy.

Legal References:

RSA 627:6, II Physical Force By Persons With Special Responsibilities Ed 1113.04-1113.05

       RSA 126-U Limiting the Use of Child Restraint Practices in Schools and Treatment Facilities                  Revised 10-4-10

      ED1200 Restraint and Seclusion for Children

Catetory: Priority/Required by Law

1st Read: November 6, 2018
2nd Read: November 27, 2018
Adopted: November 27, 2018