It is the goal of the district that all students can learn and grow in a safe and peaceful environment that nurtures the student and models respect for oneself and others. On occasion, trained district employees and others may have to use behavior management interventions, physical restraint and/or seclusion of students. The goal of these interventions is to promote the dignity, care, safety, welfare and security of each child and the school community. With this objective in mind, the district will prioritize the use of the least restrictive behavioral interventions appropriate for the situation.
Physical restraint means a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move the student’s arms, legs, body, or head freely. Physical restraint does not mean a technique used by trained school personnel, or used by a student, for the specific and approved therapeutic or safety purposes for which the technique was designed and, if applicable, prescribed. Physical restraint does not include instructional strategies, such as physically guiding a student during an educational task, hand-shaking, hugging, or other non-disciplinary physical contact.
Seclusion means the involuntary confinement of a child in a seclusion room or area from which the child is prevented or prohibited from leaving; however, preventing a child from leaving a classroom or school building are not considered seclusion. Seclusion does not include instances when a school employee is present within the room and providing services to the child, such as crisis intervention or instruction.
Physical restraint or seclusion is reasonable or necessary only:
- To prevent or terminate an imminent threat of bodily injury to the student or others; or
- To prevent serious damage to property of significant monetary value or significant nonmonetary value or importance; or
- When the student’s actions seriously disrupt the learning environment or when physical restraint or seclusion is necessary to ensure the safety of the student or others; and
- When less restrictive alternatives to seclusion or physical restraint would not be effective, would not be feasible under the circumstances, or have failed in preventing or terminating the imminent threat or behavior; and
- When the physical restraint or seclusion complies with all applicable laws.
Prior to using physical restraint or seclusion, employees must receive training in accordance with the law. Any individual who is not employed by the district but whose duties could require the individual to use or be present during the use of physical restraint or seclusion on a student will be invited to participate in the same training offered to employees on this topic.
When required by law, the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee will ensure a post-occurrence debriefing meeting is held, maintain documentation and fulfill all reporting requirements for each occurrence of physical restraint or seclusion as required by law.
NOTE: This policy is not mandatory. However, there are specific requirements for school districts to fulfill before and after using physical restraint and seclusion with students. Administrators should thoroughly read and understand the requirements listed in Chapter 103 of the Iowa Administrative Code.
Legal Reference: Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.21.
281 I.A.C. 103.
Cross Reference: 402.3 Abuse of Students by School District Employees
502 Student Rights and Responsibilities
503 Student Discipline
503.5 Corporal Punishment
Approved: 1/21/21 Reviewed: 1/21/21 Revised: 1/21/21