6033: Restraint and Seclusion of Students

Restraint and seclusion, as defined below, are behavioral interventions.  The use of such behavioral interventions must be in accordance with this policy.  The following interventions do not constitute seclusion and restraint, and are not governed by this policy: voice control, limited to loud, firm commands; time-limited ignoring of specific behaviors; brief physical prompts to interrupt or prevent a specific behavior; physical interventions which a student’s health care provider has indicated are medically necessary for the treatment or protection of the individual; or other similar interventions.


Physical restraint refers to a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head freely.  The term physical restraint does not include a physical escort.  Physical escort means a temporary touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder or back for the purpose of inducing a student who is acting out to walk to a safe location. Physical restraint does not include incidental touching that comes along with movement inside a classroom, lunch line, or other areas of the school building where maintaining order is required.

Mechanical restraint refers to the use of any device or equipment to restrict a student’s freedom of movement.  The term does not include devices implemented by trained ESU personnel or utilized by a student that have been prescribed by an appropriate medical or related services professional and are used for the specific and approved purposes for which such devices were designed, such as:

  • Adaptive devices or mechanical supports used to achieve proper body position, balance, or alignment to allow greater freedom of mobility than would be possible without the use of such devices or mechanical supports;
  • Vehicle safety restraints when used as intended during the transport of a student in a moving vehicle;
  • Restraints for medical immobilization; or
  • Orthopedically prescribed devices that permit a student to participate in activities without risk of harm.

Chemical restraint refers to the administration of medication for the purpose of restraint, but does not include the administration of medication in accordance with the directions and prescription of a physician with the consent of the student’s parent or guardian.

Seclusion refers to the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. It does not include a timeout, which is a behavior management technique that is part of an approved program, involves the monitored separation of the student in a non-locked setting, and is implemented for the purpose of calming.

Use of Restraint and Seclusion

The use of chemical restraint is strictly prohibited.  The use of any seclusion or restraint intervention for punitive or disciplinary purposes is strictly prohibited. Similarly, the use of any technique that constitutes corporal punishment, which is the infliction of bodily pain as a penalty for disapproved behavior, is strictly prohibited. Seclusion and/or restraint shall not be used for the convenience of staff or as a substitute for an educational program. When restraint or seclusion is used to respond to the danger of harm posed by a student’s behavior, the intervention shall be discontinued as soon as the danger of harm has dissipated.

The use of mechanical restraint is strictly prohibited. The use of physical restraint and seclusion is permitted in a manner consistent with this policy as reasonably necessary where the student’s behavior risks causing physical harm to self or others.


No technique shall restrict a student’s breathing, deprive a student of basic needs, or unnecessarily expose a student to physical pain or discomfort.

Seclusion shall not be used for students who are severely self-injurious or suicidal.  When seclusion is utilized as permitted by this policy, the following procedures shall be followed:

  • The student shall be monitored by an adult in close proximity who is able to regularly observe the student;
  • The confining space shall be approved for such use, unless the use of such a space is impossible or impracticable under the circumstances;
  • The confining space shall be appropriately lighted, ventilated, and heated or cooled; and
  • The confining space shall be free from objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.

If a pattern of behavior emerges that requires or is anticipated to require the use of restraint and/or seclusion for the student, the appropriate educators and/or team members shall review what assessments, evaluations, supports, services, programs, or placements are appropriate in light of the student’s needs and circumstances.

Recording and Reporting

Each incident of restraint or seclusion must be recorded and reported as required by the building administrators.


All staff members shall be provided notice of this policy and will be trained on its contents.  The ESU administrator or his or her designee will identify ESU staff members likely to implement the restraint or seclusion interventions authorized by this policy and arrange for those individuals to receive appropriate training on the appropriate implementation of such interventions and the use of other behavioral supports and interventions.

Adopted on: June 8, 2009
Revised on: August 12, 2019
Revised on: August 10, 2020
Reviewed on: April 16, 2012