JKAA: Physical Restraint of Students

Maintaining an orderly, safe environment conducive to learning is an expectation of all staff members of the Melrose Public Schools. To that end, Melrose Public School students are protected by law from the unreasonable use of physical restraint. Physical restraint will be used only in emergency situations after other less intrusive alternatives have failed or been deemed inappropriate and with extreme caution.

When an emergency situation arises, and physical restraint is the only option deemed appropriate to prevent a student from injuring himself or herself, another student or school community member, a teacher or employee or agent of the school district may use such reasonable force needed to protect students, other persons or themselves from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm.

The definitions of forms of restraint will be as defined in 603CMR 46.02.

The use of mechanical restraint, medical restraint, and seclusion is prohibited.

Physical restraint, including prone restraint where permitted under 603 CMR 46.03, will be considered an emergency procedure of last resort and will be prohibited except when a student’s behavior poses a threat of assault, or imminent, serious, physical harm to themselves and/or others and the student is not responsive to verbal directives or other lawful and less intrusive behavior interventions are deemed inappropriate.

The Superintendent will develop written procedures identifying:

  • Appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention;
  • Methods of preventing student violence, self-injurious behavior, and suicide, including crisis planning and de-escalation of potentially dangerous behaviors among groups of students or individuals;
  • Descriptions and explanations of the school’s method of physical restraint, as the school’s method of physical restraint for use in emergency situations;
  • Descriptions of the school’s training and reporting requirements, including, but not limited to making reasonable efforts to orally notify a parent of the use of restraint within 24 hours of its imposition;
  • Procedures for receiving and investigating complaints;
  • Methods for engaging parents in discussions about restraint prevention and use of restraint solely as an emergency procedure;
  • A statement prohibiting: medication restraint, mechanical restraint, prone restraint unless permitted by 603 CMR03(1)(b), seclusion, and the use of physical restraint in a manner inconsistent with 603 CMR 46.00,
  • A process for obtaining principal approval for a time out exceeding 30 minutes.

Each building principal will identify staff members to serve as a school-wide resource to assist in ensuring proper administration of physical restraint. These staff members will participate in an in-depth training program in the use of physical restraint.

In addition, each staff member will be trained regarding the school’s physical restraint policy. The principal will arrange training to occur in the first month of each school year, or for staff hired after the beginning of the school year, within a month of their employment.

Physical restraint is prohibited as a means of punishment, or as a response to destruction of property, disruption of school order, a student’s refusal to comply with a school rule or staff directive, or verbal threats that do not constitute a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others.

Physical restraint is prohibited when it is medically contraindicated for reasons including, but not limited to, asthma, seizures, a cardiac condition, obesity, bronchitis, communication-related disabilities, or risk of vomiting.

The use of “time out” procedures during which a staff member remains accessible to the student shall not be considered “seclusion restraint”.

This policy and its accompanying procedures will be reviewed and disseminated to staff annually and made available to parents of enrolled students. The Superintendent will provide a copy of the Physical Restraint Regulations to each principal, who will sign a form acknowledging receipt thereof.

 

Informational review: 10/13/15
MSC first vote: 10/27/15
MSC second vote: 11/10/15