Title: Therapeutic Restraint Administrative Procedure
These procedures are established for the purpose of meeting the obligations of the Portland Public Schools under state law and local School Committee policies governing the use of therapeutic restraint. These procedures shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with state law and regulations.
For purposes of these procedures, the term “therapeutic restraint” shall have the following meaning:
Therapeutic restraint is physical restraint of a student for the purpose of preventing that student from injuring him/herself or others when such restraint is undertaken in accordance with an individualized, written plan that specifically calls for therapeutic restraint. Therapeutic restraint as defined in this policy and any accompanying procedures should be administered by personnel trained in that restraint.
Therapeutic restraint does not include any intervention by any school official that would otherwise be governed by state law on the use of reasonable force (20-A MRSA§ 4009), which includes the use of a reasonable degree of force by school officials against a person who is creating a disturbance, when the official believes that force is necessary to control the disturbing behavior or to remove the person from the scene of the disturbance.
II. USE OF THERAPEUTIC RESTRAINT
A. Therapeutic restraint as covered by these procedures shall be used only for the purpose of preventing a student from injuring him/herself or others, when such restraint is undertaken in accordance with an individualized, written plan that specifically calls for therapeutic restraint. Therapeutic restraint as covered by these procedures shall be used only after less intrusive interventions have failed to bring the student’s behavior under control.
B. Attempts shall be made to involve the parents in developing an individualized, written plan that specifically calls for therapeutic restraint. For students with disabilities, the student’s Pupil Evaluation Team or 504 Team may develop such a plan if the Team determines it is appropriate to do so.
C. Therapeutic restraint as covered by these procedures shall involve the least amount of physical contact that is required to bring the behavior under control and should be implemented by persons who have successfully completed an appropriate training program in the identification and de-escalation of potentially harmful behaviors and the safe use of passive physical therapeutic restraints.
D. At least two adults should be involved in the use of therapeutic restraint as covered by these procedures, and, if possible, both adults should have completed an appropriate training program. In the event that an emergency situation prevents the presence of two adults for the therapeutic restraint, one individual may undertake the intervention and his/her conduct shall be protected to the full extent allowed by state law on the use of reasonable force in emergencies (20-A MRSA § 4009). If an untrained adult is involved in the intervention, his/her conduct shall also be protected to the full extent allowed by state law on the use of reasonable force in emergencies.
E. The use of therapeutic restraint as covered by these procedures should not exceed one hour in length. If the student is still presenting dangerous behaviors after that time, the use of therapeutic restraint may be continued with written authorization of the building principal/designee. In that event, the student’s parent/guardian should also be called for the purpose of taking the student home for the remainder of that school day.
F. If at any point during the therapeutic restraint the building principal/ designee believes that the student cannot be maintained safely even with that restraint, the building principal/designee shall call the student’s parent/guardian to come pick up the student, and may also call other emergency personnel for the purpose of taking custody of the student and ensuring the student’s safety.
G. In the event that school officials use restraint on a student in any manner inconsistent with these procedures, that intervention shall be protected to the full extent permitted by state law on the use of reasonable force (20-A MRSA § 4009).
III. DOCUMENTING USE OF THERAPEUTIC RESTRAINT
A. Each time a student is subject to therapeutic restraint as covered by these procedures, a school official involved in that decision shall document the action. The documentation must include the following:
1. Name of the student;
2. Date and time of restraint;
3. Time that the restraint ended;
4. Antecedent events leading up to the behavior requiring the restraint;
5. The behavior itself requiring the restraint;
6. Other types of intervention that may have been used;
7. Names of staff members involved in the incident; and
8. Names of staff members who participated in the restraint.
9. If a call is placed to the family or to emergency personnel, that should be noted in the documentation as well.
B. This written documentation shall be provided to the building principal/ designee within two school days of the incident itself. The parents/ guardian will be notified of the incident—preferably by phone, but if that is not possible, in writing—on the same day that therapeutic restraint is used on the student, or as soon as possible thereafter.
IV. PROHIBITION OF AVERSIVE THERAPY
A. School officials shall not use aversive therapy on a student to modify or change that student’s behavior. “Aversive therapy” is the application of unusual, noxious or potentially hazardous substances, stimuli or procedures to a student. Aversive therapies include the use of water spray, hitting, pinching, slapping, noxious fumes, extreme physical exercise or embarrassing costumes or signs.
B. The use of mechanical or chemical restraints by school officials is prohibited by these procedures. These procedures do not prohibit protective equipment or devices that are part of a treatment plan prescribed by a physician or psychologist for treatment of a chronic condition.
20-A MRSA §§ 4502(5)(M) and accompanying regulations
JKGB-R - Therapeutic Restraint Administrative Procedure.pdf (20 KB)
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