Disruptive Student Behavior - Use of Physical Restraint and Seclusion 5-59.3

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Regulation 5-59.3

STUDENTS

Disruptive Student Behavior - Use of Physical Restraint and Seclusion

All students and staff should be treated with dignity and respect. Educational environments and sponsored activities should be safe, secure, supportive, and conducive to the orderly delivery of educational services. To maintain such environments, the School Division will employee procedures and protocols that proactively manage student conduct, emphasize prevention, positive supports, and effective and ethical approaches. When there is need to manage disruptive or dangerous student behaviors, there must be a balance between ensuring practices that maintain a safe and effective educational environment and those procedures that protect the rights of students and staff members. This Regulation provides guidelines for the use of physical intervention, physical restraint, and seclusion techniques for school staff to respond to and manage aggressive or violent student behavior in emergency, dangerous or potentially dangerous situations. The School Division encourages the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports to reduce and prevent the need for the use of physical restraint and seclusion of students as set forth by the School Division.

  1. Definitions

    The following definitions will apply:

    1. "Aversive Stimuli"- means interventions that are intended to induce pain or discomfort to a student for the purposes of punishing the student or eliminating or reduction maladaptive behaviors such as: noxious odors and tastes; water and the mists or sprays; blasts of air; corporal; punishment as defined in Code of Virginia §22.1-279.1, as amended; verbal and mental abuse; forced exercise when the student's behavior is related to the student's disability, the exercise would have a harmful effect to the student's health or the student's disability prevents participation in such activities; deprivation of necessities including food and liquid at a time it is customarily served, medication, use of the restroom.
    2. "Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)" means a plan that utilizes positive behavioral interventions and supports to address behaviors that interfere with the learning of a student, the learning of others, or that require disciplinary action. A behavioral intervention plan is the product of a functional behavioral assessment (see definition of functional behavioral assessment).
    3. "Corporal Punishment" means the infliction of, or causing the infliction of, physical pain on a student as a means of discipline. The definition shall not include physical pain, injury or discomfort caused by the reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control as set forth below or by participation in practice or competition in an interscholastic sport or extracurricular activity, or participation in physical education. See Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.1, as amended. The prohibition on corporal punishment shall not be deemed to prevent:
      1. The use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control;
      2. the use of reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance which threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property;
      3. the use of reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others; or
      4. the use of reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or controlled substance or paraphernalia, or what is reasonable believed to be any of the above which are upon the person of the student or within the student's control.
    4. "Dangerous, disruptive, emergency, or having the potential to be such" means conduct by a student that is, or is reasonably anticipated to: cause harm, injury or death to the student or others; cause property damage; create an unsafe environment; interrupts or obstructs the educational environment or related activities; and other good and just cause. The School Division will support the reasonable judgment of staff members made at the time of the incident(s) regarding meets this definition.
    5. "Mechanical Restraint" is the use of any material or equipment to restrict a student's freedom of movement. This term does not include devices implemented by trained school personnel, or utilized by a student that have been prescribed by an appropriate medical or related services professional and are used with parental consent and are for the specific and approved purposes for which such devices were designed, such as:
      1. 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;
      2. Vehicle restraints, including seat belts or harnesses when used as intended during the transport of a student in a moving vehicle;
      3. Restraints for medical immobilization;
      4. Orthopedically prescribed devices that permit a student to participate in activities without risk of harm; or
      5. High chairs and feeding stations used for age or developmentally appropriate students used specifically for feeding.
    6. "Pharmacological Restraint" means a drug or medication used on a student to control behavior or restrict freedom of movement that is not (i) prescribed by a licensed physician or other qualified health professional under the scope of the professional's authority for the standard treatment of a student's medical or psychiatric condition and (ii) administered as prescribed by a licensed physician or other qualified health professional acting under the scope of the professional's authority.
    7. "Physical intervention" is defined as the use of reasonable and necessary physical contact by school personnel to maintain order and control; quell a disturbance; protect a student, self, and others from the risk of physical injury; prevent damage to property; or to obtain possession of weapons, dangerous objects, or paraphernalia. Teachers/school employees, volunteers or agents may not use corporal punishment ("the infliction of, or causing the infliction of, physical pain on a student as a means of discipline"), but may use:
      1. Incidental, minor, or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control;
      2. Reasonable or necessary force to quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance which threatens physical injury to persons or damaged property;
      3. Reasonable or necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting physical harm on himself;
      4. Reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others; or
      5. Reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects, or controlled substances or paraphernalia which are upon the person of the student or within his or her control.
    8. "Physical restraint" means the use of any physical method of restricting an individual's freedom of movement, or physical activity, or to prevent a student from moving his/her body to engage in a behavior that places him/her or others at a risk of physical harm. Physical restraint does not include:
      1. Briefly holding a student in order to calm or comfort the student; or
      2. Holding a student's hand, wrist, shoulder arm, or back to escort the student safely from one location to another.
      3. Using incidental, minor, or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain control, such as intervening in a fight or brief use of reasonable and necessary force to protect oneself or others from physical injury or harm in an emergency or violent situation.

      Physical restraint may include the use of approved intervention techniques designed to minimize the potential for injury to students and staff, as used by persons trained in such techniques.

    9. "Prone restraints" means when a student is placed face down on his/her stomach, supine restraints (where the student is face up on his/her back), or any other physical maneuver that prevents a student from breathing or speaking, is strictly prohibited. Physical restraint shall not include restraining the student in a chair or against a wall.
    10. "Seclusion"- Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving until the student no longer presents imminent danger to self or others. This includes any time a student is involuntarily alone in a room and prevented from leaving regardless of the intended purpose or the name of the area where the student is secluded. Provided that no such room or space is locked, seclusion does not include the following activities:
      1. Supervised in-school suspension or detention;
      2. Out of school suspension;
      3. Time-out, which is a behavioral management technique;
      4. Removal from classroom by the teacher for disruptive behavior;
      5. Student-requested breaks in a different location in a room or in a separate room;
      6. Removal of student for short periods of time from room or separate area of room to provide student with opportunity to regain self-control so long as student is not physically prevented from leaving;
      7. Removal of student for disruptive behavior from a classroom by a teacher, as provided in Code of Virginia § 22.1-276.2, as amended;
      8. Confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving during the investigation and questioning of the student by school employees regarding student's knowledge of or participation in events constituting a violation of student conduct code, such as a physical altercation, or an incident involving drugs or weapons; or
      9. Placement decisions made by IEP teams, such as one-on-one instruction.
    11. "Seclusion or quiet room" – any rooms or structures used under this Regulation must meet the following criteria:
      1. shall be free of any objects or physical features that may cause injury to a student;
      2. shall be of sufficient dimensions and shall have sufficient lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation to comport with the dignity and safety of the student;
      3. windows in the room or structure shall be constructed to minimize breakage and otherwise prevent the occupant from harming himself/herself;
      4. all space in the seclusion room shall be visible through the door, either directly or by mirrors;
      5. shall provide for the continuous visual monitoring of any seclusion, either by the presence of school personnel in the room or structure or observation by school personnel through a window, viewing panel or half door
    12. "Time out" means assisting a student to regain control by removing the student from his/her immediate environment to a different, open location until the student is calm or the problem behavior has subsided.
  2. Criteria for the Use of Physical Intervention, Physical Restraint, or Seclusion of Disruptive Students

    When student behavior becomes sufficiently disruptive, aggressive, or violent, so as to demonstrate a risk to self or others, a likelihood of property destruction, or to cause interference with the educational process or school operations, appropriate methods of intervention may be utilized to address the situation and assist the student in regaining control.

    1. School personnel may implement physical restraint or seclusion only when other interventions are or would be, in the reasonable judgment of the particular school personnel implementing physical restraint or seclusion in an emergency situation, ineffective and only to:
      1. Prevent a student from inflicting serious physical harm or injury to self or others;
      2. Quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance in which such student's behavior or damage to property threatens serious physical harm or injury to persons;
      3. Defend self or others from serious physical harm or injury;
      4. Obtain possession of controlled substances or paraphernalia that are upon the person of the student or within the student's control; or
      5. Obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects that are upon the person of the student or within the student's control.
    2. Physical restraint and seclusion shall be discontinued as soon as the imminent risk of serious physical harm or injury to self or others presented by the emergency, dangerous or potentially dangerous situation has dissipated.
    3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require school personnel to attempt to implement a less restrictive intervention prior to using physical restraint or seclusion when, in the reasonable judgment of the school personnel in an emergency situation, a less restrictive intervention would be ineffective.
    4. Unless a student's damage to property creates an imminent risk of serious physical harm or injury to the student or others, the damage of property does not itself indicate an imminent risk of serious physical harm or injury and shall not be the justification for the restraint or seclusion of a student.
    5. Any incident involving physical restraint or seclusion in any of the circumstances described in this section shall be subject to the requirements of 8VAC20-750-50 through 8VAC20-750-100, as amended.
  3. Methods of Intervention in Emergency or Dangerous Situations

    Appropriate methods of intervention when emergency situations arise include the following:

    1. "Time Out" -Time out, or removal from the Learning environment, is a less restrictive intervention on the continuum of interventions for managing disruptive, aggressive, or violent student behavior.
      1. Primary purpose of time out- the primary purpose of time out is to assist a student to regain control by removing the student from his/her immediate environment to a different location until the student is calm or the problem behavior has subsided.
      2. Where time out can occur- time out may occur within the classroom, or an area outside of the classroom, such as the principal's office or another room in the school building.
      3. Less restrictive measures before time out- when time out is used, the well-being and safety of the student is paramount. Before utilizing time out, staff should, if possible, use less restrictive measures to assist the child in regaining control or correcting his/her behavior within the learning environment.
      4. Escorting to time out- students, who are unable to regain control or correct their behavior using less restrictive measures, should be passively escorted by staff to the time out location.
      5. Duration of time out not to exceed 10 minutes- when students are removed to a separate location in which no other persons are present, each time out intervention should be of short duration, developmentally appropriate, and should not exceed 10 minutes. If a student has not regained control after the initial 10 minutes, time out may be extended in 10-minute increments thereafter.
      6. Observation and continuous monitoring- students must be observed and continuously monitored by at least one adult staff member in any time out area. At the end of each time out intervention, staff will work with the student to develop a plan for returning to the learning environment.
      7. Referral to School Intervention Team- if a student requires systematic time out interventions, a school intervention team will develop or revise a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) including a review of any existing BIP for data which documents the implementation of positive behavior supports with fidelity.
      8. Time Out Log Sheet- All time outs require documentation on the Time Out Log Sheet and notice of all time outs must be reported to the principal or designee and to the parents/guardians as provided in Section IV of this regulation.
    2. "Physical Intervention" - Physical intervention is a more restrictive method for managing disruptive, aggressive, or violent student behavior in emergency situations. Given imminent risk to self or others, or imminent risk of property destruction, or disruption to the educational process or school operations, staff may use physical intervention as an appropriate response to the situation. As with other interventions, physical intervention should be utilized in such a manner as to ensure the safety of the student, the intervener, and others. Where available, staff trained in approved physical intervention techniques shall be utilized to minimize the potential for injury to students and staff. However, the absence of formal training in physical intervention techniques shall not prohibit staff from intervening when exercising reasonable judgment under the circumstances.
      1. Following physical intervention, staff should discuss with the student the reasons requiring the use of the intervention and request the student to assist in the development of a plan to prevent further occurrences of the behaviors requiring the physical intervention. If a BIP is already in place, a school intervention team should review/revise the plan.
      2. Staff should also review the student's Individualized Education Program, or 504 Accommodations Plan, if applicable.
      3. All incidents involving the use of physical intervention shall be promptly reported to the principal/designee and notice provided to the student's parents/guardians as provided in Section __ of this Regulation, using the appropriate forms.
    3. "Seclusion (Use of Quiet Room)" - In certain emergency situations, staff may use seclusion techniques to respond to disruptive, aggressive, or violent student behavior where less restrictive interventions are not possible or have failed. Seclusion involves the use of a quiet room to provide an opportunity for a student to regain self-control and composure. Quiet rooms are designated areas intended to be used as safe, protected, less stimulating settings to support the student in regaining self-control. Use of a quiet or seclusion rooms or freestanding units not meeting the definition of seclusion or quiet room are prohibited. The following procedures should be followed when using a quiet room:
      1. The special needs of the student shall be weighed against the risk to self, others, destruction of property, or disruption to the educational process when determining whether use of a quiet room is appropriate. In determining whether or not use of a quiet room is reasonable and necessary, consideration should be given to factors such as the student's developmental age, disability, health concerns, and background factors as well as imminent risks to student, staff, and others, destruction of property, or disruption to the educational process.
      2. If, after consideration of less restrictive interventions, staff determines that the use of a quiet room is a reasonable and necessary intervention to resolve the emergency situation, the student may be placed in the quiet room with the door secured in a closed position.
      3. The Quiet Room Log Sheet (Form) shall be used to record student behavior at one-minute intervals.
      4. The staff person monitoring the student shall maintain ongoing visual contact with the student through the window in the quiet room door, while maintaining pressure on the lock mechanism to secure the door. Notations on the Log Sheet should reflect observable behavior. The Log Sheet shall be submitted to the principal/or designee for review and signature at the end of the day.
      5. Quiet room door may not remain closed without opening longer than 10 minutes. The quiet room door should not remain in the closed position beyond 10 minutes without opening the door to obtain a further assessment of the status of the student. Ten-minute time intervals should be adjusted accordingly to take into consideration the factors outlined in Step 1 above, such as developmental age. If the student does not demonstrate behavior which indicates he/she is calm and non-threatening, the door shall be secured, and the process begun again following consultation with the principal or his/her designee and agreement that the student is continuing to demonstrate behavior that indicates an imminent risk to others, destruction of property, or unacceptable disruption to the educational environment. The quiet room door should be opened as soon as these risks are no longer imminent.
      6. Harm to self while in Quiet room. If a student is demonstrating behaviors which indicate harm to self while in a quiet room, staff may need to consider the use of physical intervention to prevent self-injury to the student. These assessments should be clearly documented on the Log Sheet.
      7. Destructive behavior beyond 30 minutes. If the student continues to demonstrate destructive behavior for a period of time beyond 30 minutes, staff and the principal/designee should consider an alternative course of action, i.e., parental involvement, police assistance.
      8. Return to calm, nonthreatening behavior. Once the student demonstrates a return to calm, non-threatening behavior, the Quiet room door shall be moved to the open position, and staff shall direct the student to remain calm in the quiet room. Upon completion of a short interval of time determined by staff (not to exceed 10 minutes), the student shall then be given a directive to exit the quiet room and assisted to reintegrate into the learning environment.
      9. When possible, staff shall communicate with the student the reasons for the use of the quiet room and request the student's participation in developing a plan to prevent further occurrences of disruptive behavior.
      10. All incidents involving use of seclusion or quiet room shall be promptly reported to the principal/designee and the student's parents/guardians, using the procedures set forth in this Regulation and appropriate attachments to this Regulation.
  4. Prohibited Practices as defined in this Regulation

    The practices set forth below are prohibited.

    1. Prone restraints;
    2. Aversive Stimuli;
    3. Corporal Punishment;
    4. Mechanical Restraint;
    5. Pharmacological Restraint.
  5. Reporting Requirements and Notice to Parents/Legal Guardians of Minor Students of Intervention
    1. The school personnel involved in an incident where any student has been physically restrained or secluded shall report the incident and the use of any related first aid to the school principal or designee as soon as possible but no later than the end of the day in which the incident occurred;
    2. A student behavior report in the student information system shall be completed by the teacher or appropriate staff person at the conclusion of any incident resulting in the use of time out, physical intervention, physical restraint, or seclusion. The report should be submitted for review by the principal or designee by the end of the school day in which such intervention occurred if reasonably possible but no later than two school days after the incident.
    3. The school principal or designee should make reasonable attempts to contact the parent/legal guardian of a minor student by telephone or electronic communication as quickly as possible following the incident to inform the parent/legal guardian of any actions or interventions.
    4. Written notification to the parents/legal guardians of the student's intervention and reasons therefore shall be provided using Form ____ to this Regulation. The written notification should be provided in most cases by the end of the school day. If circumstances arise to prevent written notification to the parent/legal guardian by the end of the school day when the intervention occurred.
    5. The written notification and a copy of the student information system report shall be mailed home to the parent/legal guardian no later than two school days from the date of the event giving rise to the intervention.
    6. The parents/legal guardians shall be provided with an opportunity to meet with the teacher and a school administrator to discuss the student's behavior, the possible consequences if such behavior does not cease, and appropriate measures to respond to such behavior in the future. Any written notification, and any telephone or electronic communication with the parents/legal guardians regarding the incident, shall also inform the parents/legal guardians of the right to meet with the teacher and a school administrator to discuss the student's behavior, possible consequences of such behavior, and appropriate measures to respond to such behaviors in the future.
    7. Within two school days of an incident of physical restraint or seclusion, the principal or designee will review the incident with all school personnel who implemented the use of physical restraint or seclusion to discuss: a) whether the use of restraint or seclusion was implemented in compliance with this chapter and local policies; and 2) how to prevent or reduce the future need for physical restraint or seclusion.
    8. As appropriate, depending on the student's age and developmental level, following each incident of physical restraint or seclusion as soon as practicable, but no later than two school days or upon the student's return to school, the principal or the designee shall review the incident with the student involved to discuss: a) details of the incident in an effort to assist the student and school personnel in identifying patterns of behaviors, triggers, or antecedents; and 2) alternative positive behaviors or coping skills the student may utilize to prevent or reduce behaviors that may result in the application of physical restraint or seclusion.
    9. The principal or designee shall regularly review the use of physical restraint or seclusion to ensure compliance with School Board policy and procedures. When there are multiple incidents within the same classroom or by the same individual, the principal or designee shall take appropriate steps to address the frequency of use.
  6. Additional Considerations
    1. Following incidents leading to the interventions identified in this Regulation, particularly where there is a pattern of similar events, additional considerations may include the following:
      1. Staff consultations to discuss the effectiveness of the interventions;
      2. Development of positive behavior supports to assist the student in preventing future incidents of disruptive behavior;
      3. Implementation or review of a FBA and/or BIP, if applicable;
      4. Review of Individualized Education Program or 504 Accommodations Plan, if applicable;
      5. Conference(s) with parents/legal guardians of minor students and principal, teacher, and/or school counselor; and
      6. Request central office support or resources.
    2. Building administrators will notify the appropriate the Department of School Leadership annually of a date when the staff in their building has been trained in the implementation of this regulation and related procedures.
    3. All School personnel will receive initial training that focuses on skills related to positive behavior support, conflict prevention, de-escalation, and crisis response.
    4. All School personnel will review initial training regarding the regulations, policies, procedures governing the use of physical restraint and seclusion. Such training shall be evidence based.
    5. At least one administrator in each school building and the school personnel assigned to work with any student whose IEP or Section 504 team determines that the student is likely to be physically restrained or secluded will receive advanced training in the use of physical restraint and seclusion.
    6. The Department of School Leadership or designee is responsible for monitoring and implementing this Regulation.
    7. This Regulation shall be reviewed annually and revised as needed.

Virginia Board of Education 8 VAC 20-750, et seq., as amended. Regulations governing the use of seclusion and restrain in public elementary and secondary schools in Virginia.

Code of Virginia § 8.01-220.1:2, as amended. Civil immunity of teachers under certain circumstances.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-276.2, as amended. Removal of students from classes.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-296.1, as amended. Corporal punishment prohibited.

Approved by Superintendent: December 10, 2020