California School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

Discipline Compendium

California School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

Category: Conditions on Use of Certain Forms of Discipline
Subcategory: Restraint and Seclusion
State: California

The state or jurisdiction(s) you selected for this subcategory are shown below, followed by the laws and regulations. To add or change states, use the Back button and resubmit your search request.

To view a state profile showing school discipline laws and regulations in all subcategories for a given state, click on the state name.

LAWS

EDC 49001.

(a) For the purposes of this section "corporal punishment" means the willful infliction of, or willfully causing the infliction of, physical pain on a pupil. An amount of force that is reasonable and necessary for a person employed by or engaged in a public school to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to persons or damage to property, for purposes of self-defense, or to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects within the control of the pupil, is not and shall not be construed to be corporal punishment within the meaning and intent of this section. Physical pain or discomfort caused by athletic competition or other such recreational activity, voluntarily engaged in by the pupil, is not and shall not be construed to be corporal punishment within the meaning and intent of this section.

(b) No person employed by or engaged in a public school shall inflict, or cause to be inflicted corporal punishment upon a pupil. Every resolution, bylaw, rule, ordinance, or other act or authority permitting or authorizing the infliction of corporal punishment upon a pupil attending a public school is void and unenforceable.

EDC 49005.

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) While it is appropriate to intervene in an emergency to prevent a pupil from imminent risk of serious physical self-harm or harm of others, restraint and seclusion are dangerous interventions, with certain known practices posing a great risk to child health and safety.

(b) United States Department of Education guidelines specify that the use of restraint and seclusion must be consistent with the child's right to be treated with dignity and to be free from abuse.

(c) Restraint and seclusion should only be used as a safety measure of last resort, and should never be used as punishment or discipline or for staff convenience.

(d) Restraint and seclusion may cause serious injury or long lasting trauma and death, even when done safely and correctly.

(e) There is no evidence that restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of those techniques.

(f) Pupils with disabilities and pupils of color, especially African American boys, are disproportionately subject to restraint and seclusion.

(g) Well-established California law already regulates restraint techniques in a number of settings, including general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric health facilities, crisis stabilization units, community treatment facilities, group homes, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, community care facilities, and mental health rehabilitation centers. These minimal protections should be provided to all pupils in schools.

(h) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that schools foster learning in a safe and healthy environment and provide adequate safeguards to prevent harm, and even death, to children in school.

(i) This article is intended to be read to be consistent with, and does not change any requirements, limitations, or protections in, existing law pertaining to pupils with exceptional needs.

(j) It is the intent of the Legislature to prohibit dangerous practices. Restraint and seclusion, as described in this article, do not further a child's education. At the same time, the Legislature recognizes that if an emergency situation arises, the ability of education personnel to act in that emergency to safeguard a pupil or others from imminent physical harm should not be restricted.

EDC 49005.1.

The following definitions apply to this article:

(a) "Behavioral restraint" means "mechanical restraint" or "physical restraint," as defined in this section, used as an intervention when a pupil presents an immediate danger to self or to others. "Behavioral restraint" does not include postural restraints or devices used to improve a pupil's mobility and independent functioning rather than to restrict movement.

(b) "Educational provider" means a person who provides educational or related services, support, or other assistance to a pupil enrolled in an educational program provided by a local educational agency or a nonpublic school or agency.

(c) "Local educational agency" means a school district, county office of education, charter school, the California Schools for the Deaf, and the California School for the Blind.

(d)(1) "Mechanical restraint" means the use of a device or equipment to restrict a pupil's freedom of movement.

(2)(A) "Mechanical restraint" does not include the use of devices by peace officers or security personnel for detention or for public safety purposes.

(B) "Mechanical restraint" does not include the use of devices by trained school personnel, or by a pupil, prescribed by an appropriate medical or related services professional, if the device is used for the specific and approved purpose for which the device or equipment was prescribed, which shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(i) 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.

(ii) Vehicle safety restraints when used as intended during the transport of a pupil in a moving vehicle.

(iii) Restraints for medical immobilization.

(iv) Orthopedically prescribed devices that permit a pupil to participate in activities without risk of harm.

(e) "Nonpublic school or agency" means any nonpublic school or nonpublic agency, including both in-state and out-of-state nonpublic schools and nonpublic agencies.

(f)(1) "Physical restraint" means a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a pupil to move the pupil's torso, arms, legs, or head freely. "Physical restraint" does not include a physical escort, which means a temporary touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of inducing a pupil who is acting out to walk to a safe location.

(2) "Physical restraint" does not include the use of force by peace officers or security personnel for detention or for public safety purposes.

(g) "Prone restraint" means the application of a behavioral restraint on a pupil in a facedown position.

(h) "Pupil" means a pupil enrolled in preschool, kindergarten, or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and receiving educational services from an educational provider.

(i) "Seclusion" means the involuntary confinement of a pupil alone in a room or area from which the pupil is physically prevented from leaving. "Seclusion" does not include a timeout, which is a behavior management technique that is part of an approved program, that involves the monitored separation of the pupil in a nonlocked setting, and is implemented for the purpose of calming.

EDC 49005.2.

A pupil has the right to be free from the use of seclusion and behavioral restraints of any form imposed as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff. This right includes, but is not limited to, the right to be free from the use of a drug administered to the pupil in order to control the pupil's behavior or to restrict the pupil's freedom of movement, if that drug is not a standard treatment for the pupil's medical or psychiatric condition.

EDC 49005.4.

An educational provider may use seclusion or a behavioral restraint only to control behavior that poses a clear and present danger of serious physical harm to the pupil or others that cannot be immediately prevented by a response that is less restrictive.

EDC 49005.6.

An educational provider shall avoid, whenever possible, the use of seclusion or behavioral restraint techniques.

EDC 49005.8.

(a) An educational provider shall not do any of the following:

(1) Use seclusion or a behavioral restraint for the purpose of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation.

(2) Use locked seclusion, unless it is in a facility otherwise licensed or permitted by state law to use a locked room.

(3) Use a physical restraint technique that obstructs a pupil's respiratory airway or impairs the pupil's breathing or respiratory capacity, including techniques in which a staff member places pressure on a pupil's back or places his or her body weight against the pupil's torso or back.

(4) Use a behavioral restraint technique that restricts breathing, including, but not limited to, using a pillow, blanket, carpet, mat, or other item to cover a pupil's face.

(5) Place a pupil in a facedown position with the pupil's hands held or restrained behind the pupil's back.

(6) Use a behavioral restraint for longer than is necessary to contain the behavior that poses a clear and present danger of serious physical harm to the pupil or others.

(b) An educational provider shall keep constant, direct observation of a pupil who is in seclusion, which may be through observation of the pupil through a window, or another barrier, through which the educational provider is able to make direct eye contact with the pupil. The observation required pursuant to this subdivision shall not be through indirect means, including through a security camera or a closed-circuit television.

(c) An educational provider shall afford to pupils who are restrained the least restrictive alternative and the maximum freedom of movement, and shall use the least number of restraint points, while ensuring the physical safety of the pupil and others.

(d) If prone restraint techniques are used, a staff member shall observe the pupil for any signs of physical distress throughout the use of prone restraint. Whenever possible, the staff member monitoring the pupil shall not be involved in restraining the pupil.

EDC 49006.

(a) A local educational agency that meets the definition of a "local educational agency" specified in Section 300.28 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations shall collect and, no later than three months after the end of a school year, report to the department annually on the use of behavioral restraints and seclusion for pupils enrolled in or served by the local educational agency for all or part of the prior school year.

(b) The report required pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include all of the following information, disaggregated by race or ethnicity, and gender:

(1) The number of pupils subjected to mechanical restraint, with separate counts for pupils with a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), pupils with an individualized education program, and pupils who do not have a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794) or an individualized education program.

(2) The number of pupils subjected to physical restraint, with separate counts for pupils with a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), pupils with an individualized education program, and pupils who do not have a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794) or an individualized education program.

(3) The number of pupils subjected to seclusion, with separate counts for pupils with a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), pupils with an individualized education program, and pupils who do not have a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794) or an individualized education program.

(4) The number of times mechanical restraint was used on pupils, with separate counts for the number of times mechanical restraint was used on pupils with a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), pupils with an individualized education program, and pupils who do not have a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794) or an individualized education program.

(5) The number of times physical restraint was used on pupils, with separate counts for the number of times physical restraint was used on pupils with a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), pupils with an individualized education program, and pupils who do not have a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794) or an individualized education program.

(6) The number of times seclusion was used on pupils, with separate counts for the number of times seclusion was used on pupils with a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), pupils with an individualized education program, and pupils who do not have a plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794) or an individualized education program.

(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the data collected and reported pursuant to this section shall be available as a public record pursuant to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code.

(d) No later than three months after the report is due to the department pursuant to subdivision (a), the department shall post the data from the report annually on its Internet Web site.

EDC 49006.2.

Notwithstanding Section 49006, the data collection and reporting requirements contained in this article shall be conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Civil Rights Data Collection of the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights imposed pursuant to Sections 100.6(b) and 104.61 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and shall not be construed to impose a new program or higher level of service on local educational agencies or nonpublic schools or agencies.

EDC 49006.4.

(a) This article applies with regard to all pupils, including individuals with exceptional needs. For an individual with exceptional needs, if a behavioral restraint or seclusion is used, the procedures for followup contained in subdivisions (e), (f), (g), and (h) of Section 56521.1 also apply.

(b) For purposes of this section, "individual with exceptional needs" has the same meaning specified in Section 56026.

EDC 56520.

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) That the state has continually sought to provide an appropriate and meaningful educational program in a safe and healthy environment for all children regardless of possible physical, mental, or emotionally disabling conditions.

(2) That some schoolage individuals with exceptional needs have significant behavioral challenges that have an adverse impact on their learning or the learning of other pupils, or both.

(3) Section 1400(c)(5)(F) of Title 20 of the United States Code states that research and experience demonstrate that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by providing incentives for positive behavioral interventions and supports to address the learning and behavioral needs of those children.

(4) That procedures for the elimination of maladaptive behaviors shall not include those deemed unacceptable under Section 49001 or those that cause pain or trauma.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature:

(1) That children exhibiting serious behavioral challenges receive timely and appropriate assessments and positive supports and interventions in accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.) and its implementing regulations.

(2) That assessments and positive behavioral interventions and supports be developed and implemented in a manner informed by guidance from the United States Department of Education and technical assistance centers sponsored by the Office of Special Education Programs of the United States Department of Education.

(3) That when behavioral interventions, supports, and other strategies are used, they be used in consideration of the pupil's physical freedom and social interaction, be administered in a manner that respects human dignity and personal privacy, and that ensure a pupil's right to placement in the least restrictive educational environment.

(4) That behavioral intervention plans be developed and used, to the extent possible, in a consistent manner when the pupil is also the responsibility of another agency for residential care or related services.

(5) That training programs be developed and implemented in institutions of higher education that train teachers and that in-service training programs be made available as necessary in school districts and county offices of education to ensure that adequately trained staff are available to work effectively with the behavioral intervention needs of individuals with exceptional needs.

EDC 56521.

(a) This chapter applies to any individual with exceptional needs who is in a public school program, including a state school for the disabled pursuant to Part 32 (commencing with Section 59000), or who is placed in a nonpublic school program pursuant to Sections 56365 to 56366.5, inclusive.

(b) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall monitor and supervise the implementation of this chapter.

EDC 56521.1.

(a) Emergency interventions may only be used to control unpredictable, spontaneous behavior that poses clear and present danger of serious physical harm to the individual with exceptional needs, or others, and that cannot be immediately prevented by a response less restrictive than the temporary application of a technique used to contain the behavior.

(b) Emergency interventions shall not be used as a substitute for the systematic behavioral intervention plan that is designed to change, replace, modify, or eliminate a targeted behavior.

(c) No emergency intervention shall be employed for longer than is necessary to contain the behavior. A situation that requires prolonged use of an emergency intervention shall require the staff to seek assistance of the schoolsite administrator or law enforcement agency, as applicable to the situation.

(d) Emergency interventions shall not include:

(1) Locked seclusion, unless it is in a facility otherwise licensed or permitted by state law to use a locked room.

(2) Employment of a device, material, or objects that simultaneously immobilize all four extremities, except that techniques such as prone containment may be used as an emergency intervention by staff trained in those procedures.

(3) An amount of force that exceeds that which is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.

(e) To prevent emergency interventions from being used in lieu of planned, systematic behavioral interventions, the parent, guardian, and residential care provider, if appropriate, shall be notified within one schoolday if an emergency intervention is used or serious property damage occurs. A behavioral emergency report shall immediately be completed and maintained in the file of the individual with exceptional needs. The behavioral emergency report shall include all of the following:

(1) The name and age of the individual with exceptional needs.

(2) The setting and location of the incident.

(3) The name of the staff or other persons involved.

(4) A description of the incident and the emergency intervention used, and whether the individual with exceptional needs is currently engaged in any systematic behavioral intervention plan.

(5) Details of any injuries sustained by the individual with exceptional needs, or others, including staff, as a result of the incident.

(f) All behavioral emergency reports shall immediately be forwarded to, and reviewed by, a designated responsible administrator.

(g) If a behavioral emergency report is written regarding an individual with exceptional needs who does not have a behavioral intervention plan, the designated responsible administrator shall, within two days, schedule an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting to review the emergency report, to determine the necessity for a functional behavioral assessment, and to determine the necessity for an interim plan. The IEP team shall document the reasons for not conducting the functional behavioral assessment, not developing an interim plan, or both.

(h) If a behavioral emergency report is written regarding an individual with exceptional needs who has a positive behavioral intervention plan, an incident involving a previously unseen serious behavior problem, or where a previously designed intervention is ineffective, shall be referred to the IEP team to review and determine if the incident constitutes a need to modify the positive behavioral intervention plan.

EDC 56521.2.

(a) A local educational agency or nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency serving individuals with exceptional needs pursuant to Sections 56365 and 56366, shall not authorize, order, consent to, or pay for the following interventions, or any other interventions similar to or like the following:

(1) Any intervention that is designed to, or likely to, cause physical pain, including, but not limited to, electric shock.

(2) An intervention that involves the release of noxious, toxic, or otherwise unpleasant sprays, mists, or substances in proximity to the face of the individual.

(3) An intervention that denies adequate sleep, food, water, shelter, bedding, physical comfort, or access to bathroom facilities.

(4) An intervention that is designed to subject, used to subject, or likely to subject, the individual to verbal abuse, ridicule, or humiliation, or that can be expected to cause excessive emotional trauma.

(5) Restrictive interventions that employ a device, material, or objects that simultaneously immobilize all four extremities, including the procedure known as prone containment, except that prone containment or similar techniques may be used by trained personnel as a limited emergency intervention.

(6) Locked seclusion, unless it is in a facility otherwise licensed or permitted by state law to use a locked room.

(7) An intervention that precludes adequate supervision of the individual.

(8) An intervention that deprives the individual of one or more of his or her senses.

(b) In the case of a child whose behavior impedes the child's learning or that of others, the individualized education program team shall consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address that behavior, consistent with Section 1414(d)(3)(B)(i) and (d)(4) of Title 20 of the United States Code and associated federal regulations.

EDC 56523.

(a) The Superintendent shall repeal those regulations governing the use of behavioral interventions with individuals with exceptional needs receiving special education and related services that are no longer supported by statute, including Section 3052 and subdivisions (d), (e), (f), (g), and (ab) of Section 3001 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, as those provisions existed on January 10, 2013.

(b) This chapter is necessary to implement the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.) and associated federal regulations. This chapter is intended to provide the clarity, definition, and specificity necessary for local educational agencies to comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.)and shall be implemented by local educational agencies without the development by the Superintendent and adoption by the state board of any additional regulations.

(c) Pursuant to Section 1401(9) of Title 20 of the United States Code, special education and related services must meet the standards of the department.

(d) As a condition of receiving funding from the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.), a local educational agency shall agree to adhere to this chapter and implementing federal regulations set forth in this chapter.

(e) The Superintendent may monitor local educational agency compliance with this chapter and may take appropriate action, including fiscal repercussions, if either of the following is found:

(1) The local educational agency failed to comply with this chapter and failed to comply substantially with corrective action orders issued by the department resulting from monitoring findings or complaint investigations.

(2) The local educational agency failed to implement the decision of a due process hearing officer based on noncompliance with this part, provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.), or the federal implementing regulations, wherein noncompliance resulted in the denial of, or impeded the delivery of, a free appropriate public education for an individual with exceptional needs.

(f) Commencing with the 2010-11 fiscal year, if any activities authorized pursuant to this chapter and implementing regulations are found be a state reimbursable mandate pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution, state funding provided for purposes of special education pursuant to Item 6110-161-0001 of Section 2.00 of the annual Budget Act shall first be used to directly offset any mandated costs.

(g) The Legislature hereby requests the Department of Finance on or before December 31, 2013, to exercise its authority pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 17557 of the Government Code to file a request with the Commission on State Mandates for the purpose of amending the parameters and guidelines of CSM-4464 to delete any reimbursable activities that have been repealed by statute or executive order and to update offsetting revenues that apply to the mandated program.

EDC 56524.

The superintendent shall explore with representatives of institutions of higher education and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the current training requirements for teachers to ensure that sufficient training is available in appro

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

©2024 American Institutes for Research — Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy   |   Accessibility Statement