Northern Mariana Islands School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

Discipline Compendium

Northern Mariana Islands School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

Category: Conditions on Use of Certain Forms of Discipline
Subcategory: Restraint and Seclusion
State: Northern Mariana Islands

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§ 60-20-490. Policy.

The Board of Education believes that maintaining an orderly, safe environment conducive to learning is an expectation of all staff members of the CNMI Public School System. An individual who is a teacher, administrator or school employee may, within the scope of that person's employment, use the amount of force as is reasonable and necessary to accomplish the following purposes:

(a) To retrain a student from an act of wrongdoing;

(b) To quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to self or others.

§ 60-20-491. Definitions.

(a) "Extended restraint": A physical restraint the duration of which is more than twenty minutes. Extended restraints increase the risk of injury and, therefore, require additional written documentation as described in this regulation.

(b) "Physical escort": Touching or holding a student without the use of force for the purpose of directing the student.

(c) "Physical restraint": The use of bodily force to limit a student's freedom of movement.

(d) "Restraint"–Other: Limiting the physical freedom·of an individual student by mechanical means or seclusion in a limited space or location, or temporarily controlling the behavior of a student by chemical means. The use of chemical or mechanical restraint is prohibited unless explicitly authorized by a physician and approved in writing by the parent or guardian.

(1) "Mechanical Restraint": The use of a physical device to restrict the movement of a student or the movement or normal function of a portion of his or her body. A protective or stabilizing device ordered by a physician shall not be considered mechanical restraint.

(2) "Seclusion Restraint": Physically confining a student alone in a room or limited space without access to school staff. The use of "time out" procedures during which a staff member remains accessible to the student shall not be considered "seclusion restraint."

(3) "Chemical restraint": The administration of medication for the purpose of restraint.

§ 60-20-493. Determining when physical restraint may be used.

(a) Use of restraint. Physical restraint may be used only in the following circumstances:

(1) Non-physical interventions would not be effective; and

(2) The student's behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious, physical harm to self and/or others.

(b) Limitations on use of restraint. Physical restraint in a public education program shall be limited to the use of such reasonable force as is necessary to protect a student or another member of the school community from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm.

(c) Prohibitions. Physical restraint is prohibited in the following circumstances:

(1) As a means of punishment; or

(2) For the convenience of staff; or

(3) As a substitute for less restrictive alternatives; or

(4) As a response to property destruction, 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; or*

(d) Referral to law enforcement or other public agencies. Nothing in these regulations prohibits:

(1) The right of any individual to report to appropriate authorities a crime committed by a student or other individual;

(2) Law enforcement, judicial authorities, or school security personnel from exercising their responsibilities, including the physical detainment of a student or other person alleged to have committed a crime or posing a, security risk; or

(3) The exercise of an individual's responsibilities as a mandated reporter pursuant to BOE, CNMI and Federal regulation. These regulations shall not be used to deter any individual from reporting neglect or abuse to an appropriate public agency.

§ 60-20-494. Proper administration of physical restraint.

(a) Trained personnel. Only school personnel who have received training pursuant to this subpart shall administer physical restraint on students. Whenever possible, the administration of a restraint shall be witnessed by at least one adult who does not participate in the restraint. The training requirements contained herein shall not preclude a teacher or employee of PSS from using reasonable force to protect students, other persons or themselves from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm.

(b) Use of force. A person administering a physical restraint shall use only the amount of force necessary to protect the student or others from physical injury or harm.

(c) Safest method. A person administering physical restraint shall use the safest method available and appropriate to the situation subject to the safety requirements. Floor or prone restraints shall be prohibited unless the staff member administering the restraint has received indepth training and, in the judgment of the trained staff member, such method is required to provide safety for the student or others present;

(d) Duration of restraint. A person administering physical restraint shall discontinue such restraint as soon as possible. If, due to unusual circumstances, a restraint continues for more than twenty minutes, it shall be considered an "extended restraint" for purposes of the reporting requirements.

(e) Safety requirements. Additional requirements for the use of physical restraint:

(1) No restraint shall be administered in such a way that the student is prevented from breathing or speaking. During the administration of a restraint, a staff member shall continuously monitor the physical status of the student, including skin color and respiration. A restraint shall be released immediately upon a determination by the staff member administering the restraint that the student is no longer at risk of causing imminent physical harm to him or herself or others.

(2) Restraint shall be administered in such a way so as to prevent or minimize physical harm. If, at any time during a physical restraint, the student demonstrates significant physical distress, the student shall be released from the restraint immediately, and school staff shall take steps to seek medical assistance.

(3) Program staff shall review and consider any known medical or psychological limitations and/or behavioral intervention plans regarding the use of physical restraint on an individual student.

(4) Following the release of a student from a restraint, the program shall implement followup procedures. These procedures shall include reviewing the incident with the student to address the behavior that precipitated the restraint, reviewing the incident with the staff person(s) who administered the restraint to discuss whether proper restraint procedures were followed, and consideration of whether any follow-up is appropriate for students who witnessed the incident.

§ 60-20-495. Reporting requirements.

(a) Circumstances under which a physical restraint must be reported.

(1) PSS staff shall report the use of physical restraint after administration of a physical restraint that results in any injury to a student or staff member, or any physical restraint of duration longer than five minutes.

(b) Informing school administration.

(1) The PSS staff who administered the restraint shall verbally inform the administration of the restraint as soon as possible and by written report no later than the next school working day.

(2) The written report shall be provided to the principal or his/her designee, except that the principal or director shall prepare the report if the principal or director has administered the restraint

(3) The principal or director or his/her designee shall maintain an on-going record of all reported instances of physical restraint.

(c) Informing parents.

(1) The principal or his/her designee shall verbally inform the student's parents or guardians of the restraint as soon as possible, and by written report no later than three school working days following the use of restraint.

(d) Contents of report. The written report shall include:

(1) The names and job titles of the staff who administered the restraint, and observers, if any; the date of the restraint; the time the restraint began and ended; and the name of the administrator who was verbally informed following the restraint.

(2) A description of the activity in which the restrained student and other students and staff in the same room or vicinity were engaged immediately preceding the use of physical restraint; the behavior that prompted the restraint; the efforts made to de-escalate the situation; alternatives to restraint that were attempted; and the justification for initiating physical restraint.

(3) A description of the administration of the restraint including the holds used and reasons such holds were necessary; the student's behavior and reactions during the restraint; how the restraint ended; and documentation of injury to the student and/or staff, if any, during the restraint and any medical care provided.

(4) For extended restraints, the written report shall describe the alternatives to extended restraint that were attempted, the outcome of those efforts, and the justification for administering the extended restraint.

(5) Information regarding any further action(s) that the school has taken or may take, including any disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed on the student.

(6) Information regarding opportunities for the student's parents or guardians to discuss with school officials the administration of the restraint, any disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed on the student, and/or any other related matter.

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