Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Legal Guidelines for Restraints

Cases interpreting the requirements of these federal statutes and other federal civil rights statutes have established some general principals that should be followed:

1. Physical restraints should only be used when a student’s behavior poses a serious and imminent risk of self- injury or harm to others.

2. Physical restraints should only be used as a last resort after all other positive and reasonable, less restrictive techniques have failed.

3. Parents should be consulted about the use of restraints as it applies to their child.

4. Parents should be informed about the use of restraint as soon as possible.

5. Physical restraints should never be used as a punishment.

6. Whenever possible, trained staff should perform physical restraints.

7. The use of force in the restraint must be proportionate to the danger presented to the student or others and last only as long as necessary to resolve the risk of harm presented by the student.

8. For students with IEPs or 504 plans, the IEP or 504 team should determine whether the use of physical restraints should be included and defined in a child’s IEP or 504 plan. (SPECIAL NOTE: We do not recommend ANY parent allow physical restraint use and/or seclusion use to be written into an IEP because our experience and knowledge indicate an increased likihood that restraints and seclusions will be used as a FIRST resort for even minor infractions, not as a LAST resort in emergencies as intended. Also, if a school has your written permission to use restraints and/or seclusion, it is much more difficult to "prove" later if these practices are being over-used or abused.)

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