435R - Restraint and Seclusion of Students

Physical or mechanical restraint and seclusion may only be used consistent with this regulation.
  1. Definitions

    1. “Physical restraint” means the use of physical force to restrict the free movement of all or a part of a student’s body. Excluded from this definition are those procedures the use of which are documented in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan;

    2. “Mechanical restraint” means the use of any device or material attached to a student’s body that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to any portion of the student’s body and that the student cannot easily remove. Excluded from this definition are the use of devices or materials the use of which are documented in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan;

    3. “Seclusion” means the confinement of a student alone in a separate enclosed space, in a manner that prevents the student from leaving. Seclusion is permitted in accordance with a student’s IEP, Section 504, or behavior intervention plan, or to prevent injury to the student or others.

  2. Use of Physical Restraint, Mechanical Restraint and Seclusion 

    Physical restraint, mechanical restraint, and seclusion may only be used by a staff member who has been trained in the proper use of the technique applied or device utilized and should only be used in the following circumstances: 

    • as needed to protect an individual from his or her own actions;

    • as needed to protect others from injury by the restrained person;

    • as needed to quell a disturbance;

    • as needed to gain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects on the person or within the control of a student;

    • as needed for self-defense;

    • as needed to escort a student safely from one area to another;

    • as reasonably needed to prevent imminent destruction to school or another person’s property;

    • when using seat belts or other safety restraints to secure a student during transportation;

    • to direct the movement or actions of a student to avoid the undue or deliberate disruption of the learning environment;

    • as authorized by the Code of Virginia, or

    • as authorized by a student’s IEP, Section 504 plan or behavior intervention plan.

    When a student is placed in seclusion, he or she will be monitored by a staff member in close proximity. It is preferable that the staff member can see or observe student. A student placed in seclusion will be released from seclusion upon cessation of the behaviors that led to the seclusion; after a reasonable period of time in the seclusion setting during which it is determined that the seclusion will not be effective; or in accordance with the student’s IEP, Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan. The space used for seclusion must be appropriately lighted, ventilated, and heated or cooled, and free from objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm. 

  3. Corporal Punishment Prohibited 

    Nothing in this regulation is intended to limit the application of Va. Code § 22.1-279.1 which provides generally that:

    No teacher, principal or other person employed by the school board shall subject a student to corporal punishment. This prohibition of corporal punishment shall not be deemed to prevent

    • the use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control;

    • 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;

    • the use of reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting physical harm on himself;

    • the use of reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others;

    • the use of 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 control;

    • physical pain, injury or discomfort caused by participation in practice or competition in an interscholastic sport; or

    • participation in physical education or an extracurricular activity.

  4. Documentation and Notice to Parents 

    A parent or guardian will be notified in writing within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 15 school days, after any use of 

    • physical restraint; or 

    • seclusion resulting in observed physical injury to the student. 

    The staff member who utilizes restraint or seclusion will be responsible for making a record of information regarding its use including the date, time, duration, precipitating behavior, outcome and other pertinent observations. Documentation is not required when using mechanical devices that are authorized and utilized for the student’s safety or physical support such as bus harnesses, lap belts, rifton chairs and similar devices. This policy does not permit the use of a restraining device to limit a student’s mobility when that device is not ordinarily used with the student. 

  5. Use of Reasonable and Necessary Force by School Staff 

    Pursuant to Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 18.2-57, "simple assault" or "assault and battery" shall not be construed to include the use of, by any teacher, teacher aide, principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, school security officer, school bus driver or school bus aide, while acting in the course and scope of his official capacity, any of the following: (i) incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control; (ii) reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance that threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property; (iii) reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting physical harm on himself; (iv) reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others; or (v) reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or controlled substances or associated paraphernalia that are upon the person of the student or within his control. 

    In determining whether a person was acting within the exceptions provided in this subsection, due deference shall be given to reasonable judgments that were made by a teacher, teacher aide, principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, school security officer, school bus driver, or school bus aide at the time of the event. 

Legal Reference(s): 
Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, Section(s) 22.1-78, 22.1-279.1, 18.2-57 


Cross Reference(s): 
Policy 402P, Students- Code of Student Conduct 

Regulation 402R-A, Students- Code of Student Conduct 

Policy 413P, Students- Suicide Prevention 

Regulation 413R, Students- Suicide Prevention 

Policy 431P, Students- Removal of Disruptive Students from Class 

Regulation 431R, Students- Removal of Disruptive Students from Class 


Adopted: October 11, 2010 
Amended: September 12, 2018