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Physical Restraint

Physical restraint is defined by state law as the use of physical force or a mechanical device to restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a student's body.  Physical restraint should only be used to protect children when they are a danger to themselves or to others or to keep them from damaging property. This technique is designed to help out-of-control students regain appropriate control. It should NOT be used as a punishment. A teacher should never use physical restraint when he/she feels angry or counter-aggressive.

Physical restraint should be used only to prevent the student from causing harm to himself, others, or property.

Physical restraint should only be used in an emergency and should be limited to the use of such reasonable force to address the emergency.  It should be discontinued at the point an emergency no longer exists.  Physical restraint should not be used to force a student to perform an appropriate behavior or academic task, but only to stop the inappropriate behavior. (For example, do not restrain a student for failing to raise his/her hand, for not sitting appropriately in his/her seat, for inappropriate language, etc.)

Every opportunity should be provided for the student to control his own behavior before physical management is implemented.

Extreme care should be taken to provide for safety and comfort of other students and staff, as well as the safety and comfort of the out-of-control student during the restraint procedure.  Restraint should not deprive the student of basic human necessities.

Teachers should maintain a neutral affect throughout the physical management process. That is, they should not show anger, fear, tension, or express sarcasm (verbal or nonverbal), or satisfaction with the restraint procedure. The most effective attitude is to appear not to notice that one is restraining a student and to go about business as usual.

When restraint is used, the following documentation requirements must be met:

  1. On the day restraint is utilized, the campus administrator or designee must be notified verbally or in writing regarding the use of restraint.
  2. On the day restraint is utilized, a good faith effort shall be made to verbally notify the parent(s) regarding the use of restraint.
  3. Written notification of the use of restraint must be placed in the mail or otherwise provided to the parent within one school day of the use of restraint.
  4. Written documentation regarding the use of restraint must be placed in the student's special education eligibility folder in a timely manner so the information is available to the ARD committee when it considers the impact of the student's behavior on the student's learning and/or the creation or revision of the behavioral intervention plan (BIP).
  5. Written notification to the parent(s) and documentation to the student's special education eligibility folder shall include the following:
    • Name of student;
    • Name of the staff member(s) administering the restraint;
    • The date of the restraint;
    • Location of the restraint;
    • Nature of the restraint;
    • A description of the activity in which the student was engaged immediately proceeding the use of restraint;
    • The behavior that prompted the restraint;
    • The efforts made to de-escalate the situation and alternatives to restraint that were attempted; and
    • Information documenting parent contact and notification.

Following each incident, faculty/staff should allow for transition back to class by briefly discussing:

  1. Behaviors resulting in the use of restraint.
  2. Rules violated.
  3. Plans for avoiding future inappropriate behaviors.

Amarillo ISD's method of restraint is Handle With Care which is used when a staff member is required to physically restrain a student. Personnel called upon to use restraint in an emergency and who have not received prior training must receive training within 30 school days following the use of restraint. They must also take the Texas Behavior Support Initiative (TBSI) modules.