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Use of Physical Intervention and Restraint: JKA-R

  • Students: J
Use of Physical Intervention and Restraint: JKA-R

A. Definitions

In accordance with the State Board of Education Rules for the Administration of the Protection of Persons from Restraint Act, the following definitions apply for purposes of this regulation and accompanying policy (JKA).

1. “Restraint” means any method or device used to involuntarily limit freedom of movement, including but not limited to bodily physical force, mechanical devices, chemicals and seclusion.

2. “Physical restraint” means the use of bodily, physical force to involuntarily limit an individual’s freedom of movement. “Physical restraint” does not include:

  • a. holding of a student for less than five minutes by a staff person for the protection of the student or others;
  • b. brief holding of a student by one adult for the purpose of calming or comforting the student;
  • c. minimal physical contact for the purpose of safely escorting a student from one area to another;
  • d. minimal physical contact for the purpose of assisting the student in completing a task or response.

3. “Mechanical restraint” means a physical device used to involuntarily restrict the movement of a student or the movement or normal function of the student’s body. “Mechanical restraint” does not include:

  • a. devices recommended by a physician, occupational therapist or physical therapist and agreed to by a student’s IEP team or Section 504 team and used in accordance with the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan;
  • b. protective devices such as helmets, mitts, and similar devices used to prevent self-injury and in accordance with a student’s IEP or Section 504 plan;
  • c. adaptive devices to facilitate instruction or therapy and used as recommended by an occupational therapist or physical therapist, and consistent with a student’s IEP or Section 504 plan; or
  • d. positioning or securing devices used to allow treatment of a student’s medical needs.

4. “Chemical restraint” means administering medication to a student (including medications prescribed by the student’s physician) on an as needed basis for the sole purpose of involuntarily limiting the student’s freedom of movement. “Chemical restraint” does not include:

  • a. prescription medication that is regularly administered to the student for medical reasons other than to restrain the student’s freedom of movement (e.g. Asthma-cort, medications used to treat mood disorders or ADHD, Glucagon); or
  • b. the administration of medication for voluntary or life-saving medical procedures (e.g. EpiPens, Diastat).

5. “Seclusion” means the placement of a student alone in a room from which egress is involuntarily prevented. “Seclusion” does not mean:

  • a. placement of a student in residential services in the student’s room for the night; or
  • b. time-out.

6. “Time-out” is the removal of a student from potentially rewarding people or situations. A time-out is not used primarily to confine the student, but to limit accessibility to reinforcement. In time-out, the student is not physically prevented from leaving the designated time-out area and is effectively monitored by staff.

7. “Emergency” means serious, probable, imminent threat of bodily injury to self or others with the present ability to effect such bodily injury. Emergency includes situations in which the student creates such a threat by abusing or destroying property.

8. “Bodily injury” means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical or mental condition as defined in C.R.S. 18-1-901(3)(c).

9. The term “State Board Rules” refers the Colorado State Board of Education Rules for the Administration of the Protection of Persons from Restraint Act, 1 CCR 301-45, §§ 2620-R-1.00 et seq.

10. “Parent” shall be as defined by the State Board Rules.


B. Basis for use of restraint

Restraints shall only be used:

1. In an emergency and with extreme caution; and

2. After:

  • a. the failure of less restrictive alternatives (such as Positive Behavior Supports, constructive and non-physical de-escalation, and restructuring the environment); or
  • b. a determination that such alternatives would be inappropriate or ineffective under the circumstances.

3. Restraints shall never be used as a punitive form of discipline or as a threat to gain control or gain compliance of a student’s behavior.

4. School personnel shall:

a. use restraints only for the period of time necessary and using no more force than necessary; and

b. prioritize the prevention of harm to the student.


C. Duties related to the use of restraint – general requirements

When restraints are used, school personnel shall ensure that:

  1. no restraint is administered in such a way that the student is inhibited or impeded from breathing or communicating;
  2. no restraint is administered in such a way that places excess pressure on the student’s chest, back, or causes positional asphyxia;
  3. restraints are only administered by district staff who have received training in accordance with the State Board Rules;
  4. opportunities to have the restraint removed are provided to the student who indicates he/she is willing to cease the violent or dangerous behavior;
  5. when it is determined by trained district staff that the restraint is no longer necessary to protect the student or others (i.e. the emergency no longer exists), the restraint shall be removed; and
  6. the student is reasonably monitored to ensure the student’s physical safety.

Additionally, in the case of seclusion, staff shall reintegrate the student or clearly communicate to the student that the student is free to leave the area used to seclude the student.


D. Proper administration of specific restraints

1. Chemical restraints shall not be used by school staff.

2. Mechanical restraints shall not be used by school staff.

3. Physical restraint may be used in an emergency. However:

  • a. a person administering the physical restraint shall only use the amount of force necessary to stop the dangerous or violent actions of the student;
  • b. a restrained student shall be continuously monitored to ensure that the breathing of the student in such physical restraint is not compromised; and
  • c. a student shall be released from physical restraint within fifteen (15) minutes after the initiation of the restraint, except when precluded for safety reasons.

4. Seclusion may be used in an emergency. However:

  • a. relief periods from seclusion shall be provided for reasonable access to toilet facilities; and
  • b. any space in which a student is secluded shall have adequate lighting, ventilation and size. To the extent possible under the specific circumstances, the space should be free of injurious items.


E. Notification requirements

1. If there is a reasonable probability that restraint might be used with a particular student, appropriate school staff shall notify, in writing, the student’s parents and the student (if appropriate) of:

  • a. the restraint procedures (including types of restraints) that might be used;
  • b. the specific circumstances in which restraint might be used; and
  • c. the staff who may be involved.

2. For students with disabilities, if the parents request a meeting with school personnel to discuss the notification provided, school personnel shall ensure that the meeting is convened.

3. The required notification may occur at the meeting where the student’s behavior plan or IEP is developed/reviewed.


F. Documentation and review of specific incidents of restraint

1. The district shall ensure that a review process is conducted for each incident of restraint. The purpose of this review shall be to ascertain that appropriate procedures were followed and to minimize future use of restraint. The steps of the review process are described below.

2. First, any time that restraint is used, the school principal or designee shall verbally notify the student’s parents as soon as possible but no later than the end of the school day that restraint was used.

3. Within one (1) school day, the staff involved shall submit a written report regarding the incident to school administration.

4. Within two (2) school days, appropriate school staff shall meet to review the incident. This review shall include, but not be limited to:

  • a. review of the incident, including review of the written report submitted by the staff involved and any related documentation to ensure the use of alternative strategies; and
  • b. recommendations for adjustment of procedures, if appropriate.

5. A written report based on the findings of the staff review described in paragraph F(4) above shall be e-mailed, faxed or mailed to the student’s parents within five calendar days of the use of restraint. The written report of the use of restraint shall include:

  • a. the antecedent to the student’s behavior if known;
  • b. a description of the incident;
  • c. efforts made to de-escalate the situation;
  • d. alternatives that were attempted;
  • e. the type and duration of the restraint used;
  • f. injuries that occurred, if any; and
  • g. the staff present and staff involved in administering the restraint.

6. A copy of the written report shall be placed in the student’s confidential file.

7. If requested by the district or the student’s parents, the district shall convene a meeting with parents to review the incident. For students with IEPs or Section 504 plans, such review may occur through the IEP or Section 504 process.


G. General review process

1. The district shall ensure that a general review process is conducted and documented in writing at least annually. The purpose of the general review is to ascertain that the district is properly administering restraint, identifying additional training needs, minimizing and preventing the use of restraint by increasing the use of positive behavior interventions, and reducing the incidence of injury to students and staff.

2. The review shall include, but is not limited to analysis of:

  • a. the written reports prepared pursuant to paragraph F(5) including, but not limited to, analysis of the procedures used during any incidents of restraint, the preventative or alternative techniques tried, and staff compliance with documentation and review requirements contained in paragraph F above;
  • b. training needs of staff;
  • c. staff to student ratio; and
  • d. environmental conditions, including physical space, student seating arrangements, and noise levels.


H. Staff training

1. The district shall ensure that staff utilizing restraint in schools are trained in accordance with the State Board Rules.

2. Training shall include:

  • a. a continuum of prevention techniques;
  • b. environmental management;
  • c. a continuum of de-escalation techniques;
  • d. nationally recognized physical management and restraint practices, including, but not limited to, techniques that allow restraint in an upright or sitting position and information about the dangers created by prone restraint;
  • e. methods to explain the use of restraint to the student who is to be restrained and to the student’s family; and
  • f. appropriate documentation and notification procedures as described in paragraphs E and F above.

3. Retraining shall occur at a frequency of at least every two years.