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Maintaining an orderly, safe environment conducive to learning is an expectation of all staff members of the Georgetown School District. Further, students of the district are protected by law from the unreasonable use of physical restraint.  Such restraint shall be used only in emergency situations as a last resort and with extreme caution after other lawful and less intrusive alternatives have failed or been deemed inappropriate.

 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 leader, 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 or forms of restraint shall be defined in 603 CMR 46.02.       


Mechanical Restraint:  The use of any device or equipment to restrict a student’s freedom of movement.  The 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 for the specific and approved positioning or protective purposes for which such devices were designed.  Examples of such devices include:  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; vehicle safety restraints when used as intended during the transport of a student in a moving vehicle; restraints for medical immobilization; or orthopedically prescribed devices that permit a student to participate in activities without risk of harm.

Medication Restraint:  The administration of medication for the purpose of temporarily controlling behavior.  Medication prescribed by a licensed physician and authorized by the parent for administration in the school setting is not medication restraint..

Physical Escort:  A temporary touching or holding, without the use of force, of the hand, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of inducing a student who is agitated to walk to a safe location. 

Physical Restraint:  Direct physical contact that prevents or significantly restricts a student’s freedom of movement.  Physical restraint does not include:  brief physical contact to promote student safety, providing physical guidance or prompting when teaching a skill, redirecting attention, providing comfort, or a physical escort.

Prone Restraint:  A physical restraint in which a student is placed face down on the floor or another surface, and physical pressure is applied to the student’s body to keep the student in the face-down position.

Seclusion:  Involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.  Seclusion does not include a time-out as defined below.

Time-Out:  A behavioral support strategy, developed pursuant to 603 CMR 46.04(1), in which a student temporarily separates from the learning activity or the classroom, either by choice or by direction from staff, for the purpose of calming.  During time-out, a student must be continuously observed by a staff member.  Staff shall be with the student or immediately available to the student at all times. 

The space used for time-out must be clean, safe, sanitary, and appropriate for the purpose of calming.  Time-out shall cease as soon as the student has calmed.  DESE’s Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2016-1, issued on July 31, 2015, provides the following additional definitions pertaining to time-out:

       Inclusionary time-out:  when the student is removed from positive reinforcement of full participation in classroom activities while remaining in the classroom.

      Exclusionary time-out:  the separation of the student from the rest of the class either through complete visual separation or from actual physical separation.


Chemical restraint, mechanical restraint and seclusion are prohibited in all public school education programs.

Physical restraint, including prone restraint where permitted under 603 CMR 46.03, shall be considered an emergency procedure of last resort and shall 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 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 behavior among groups of students or individuals;

·         Descriptions and explanations of alternatives to physical restraint as well as the school’s method of physical restraint for use in emergency situations;

·         Descriptions of the school’s training and procedures to comply with 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.

Any individual who wishes to file a complaint regarding physical restraint practices, should immediately report their concern promptly to the school principal or designee.  If the school principal receives the report, he or she will notify the Superintendent of the complaint.  The Superintendent will promptly investigate the complaint and provide the complainant notification of the outcome of the complaint within a reasonable time period of receipt of the complaint.

     Procedures for receiving and investigating complaints;


  • The reporting process of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is as follows:  The District will report to DESE all restraints that result in serious injury to either a student or a staff member within three (3) working days of the restraint.  Additionally, the District will provide DESE with an annual report of its physical restraint use.


    • 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 CMR 46.03(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.




General Training

The Principal will ensure that all staff receive training on the District’s Restraint Prevention and Behavior Support Policy and Procedures and the requirements for the use of restraint.  This training will comply with the requirements of 603 C.M.R. 46.04(2).

In-Depth Training

The Principal will identify and authorize certain staff to serve as a school-wide resource to assist in ensuring the proper administration of physical restraint.  These identified staff will participate in an in-depth training that complies with the requirements of 603 C.M.R. 46.04(3) and 603 (C.M.R. 46.04(4).

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.”

Neither 603 C.M.R. 46.00 nor this policy prohibits (1) any teacher, employee or agent of the District from using reasonable force to protect students, others or themselves from imminent, serious, physical harm; (2) any individual from reporting to appropriate authorities a crime committed by a student or other individual; (3) law enforcement, judicial authorities or school security personnel from exercising their responsibilities, including the physical detainment of a student or person alleged to have committed a crime or posing a security risk; or (4) an individual from reporting neglect or abuse to the appropriate state agency, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119 & § 51A. 

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


 SOURCE:  MASC, Nuttall/McAvoy


LEGAL REF.:            603 CMR 46.00

                                    M.G.L. 71:37Gl; 603 CMR 46.00


CROSS REF:              EBCD, Emergency Closings

                                    JL, Student Welfare

                                    JLC, Student Health Services and Requirements



Restraint Prevention and Behavior Support Policy and Procedures

(Based on 603 C.M.R. 46.00 effective January 1, 2016, and

DESE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2016-1, July 31, 2015)



Adopted on:    April 10, 2008

Reviewed on:  November 5, 2015