Oklahoma School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

Discipline Compendium

Oklahoma School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

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

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LAWS

No relevant laws found.

REGULATIONS

210:15-13-9. Guidelines for minimizing seclusion and restraint of students.

(a) Definitions. The following terms, when used in this Section, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) "Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)" means a plan that is based on the results of a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and, at a minimum, includes a description of the problem behavior, global and specific hypotheses as to why the problem behavior occurs, and intervention strategies that include positive behavioral supports and services to address the behavior.

(2) "Chemical restraint" means a drug or medication used on a student to control behavior or restrict freedom of movement, when such substance is not administered as prescribed to the student by a licensed physician or other qualified health professional acting under the scope of their professional authority.

(3) "Corporal punishment" means, as defined in 70 O.S. § 13-116, the deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force used as a means of discipline.

(4) "Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)" means a process that uses direct and indirect data collection to determine why a student engages in behaviors that impede learning, and how the student's behavior relates to the environment. The FBA includes, but is not limited to: the identification of the problem behavior, the definition of the behavior in concrete terms, the identification of the contextual factors that contribute to the behavior, and the formulation of a hypothesis regarding the general conditions under which a behavior usually occurs and probably consequences that serve to maintain it.

(5) "Mechanical restraint" means the use of any device or equipment to restrict a student's freedom of movement. This term does not include motor vehicle safety restraints or devices utilized by a student, or appropriately trained school personnel, which are used as prescribed by a medical or related services professional for specific approved purposes such as: mechanical supports used to achieve proper body position or allow greater freedom of mobility, restraints for medical immobilization, or orthopedically prescribed devices.

(6) "Physical escort" means a temporary touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of directing a student to move to a safe location if they are in distress or acting out.

(7) "Physical restraint" means a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move their torso, arms, legs, or head freely. Physical restraint does not include an appropriately applied temporary physical escort.

(8) "Prone restraint" means a prohibited type of physical restraint that positions a student face down on their stomach, potentially restricting the student's ability to breathe freely.

(9) "Seclusion" means the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area which the student is physically prevented from leaving. Seclusion does not include short-term monitored separation in a monitored and non-locked timeout setting.

(10) "Seclusion room" means a room or other confined area in which a student is involuntarily placed in isolation from other persons and which the student is physically prevented from leaving.

(11) "Timeout" means a technique that is part of an approved behavior management program and involves the monitored separation of the student in a non-locked setting for the purpose of calming.

(b) Student seclusion. Seclusion should never be used for the purposes of discipline, punishment, forcing compliance, or as a convenience to staff. Seclusion may only be used under emergency circumstances as outlined below.

(1) Circumstances under which seclusion of a student is authorized. A student may be placed in seclusion only if:

(A) The student's actions pose an imminent danger of serious physical harm to the student or other individuals, and not merely a threat to property;

(B) Positive behavior intervention strategies and less restrictive measures appropriate to the behavior exhibited by the student are currently being implemented, but have not effectively de-escalated the threat of danger or harm;

(C) School personnel are present who have completed appropriate training that addresses conflict de-escalation, the crisis cycle and associated interventions, appropriate use of seclusion rooms, and possible effects of seclusion; and

(D) The seclusion only lasts as long as necessary to resolve the threat of danger or harm.

(2) Conditions required during an authorized use of seclusion. If a student is placed in seclusion during an emergency situation that meets the criteria of (b)(1) above, the following precautions must be exercised throughout the time the student is in seclusion:

(A) The student must be continuously monitored visually and aurally by an appropriately trained school employee;

(B) The student must be allowed to go to the restroom upon request;

(C) The student must be permitted to drink water upon request; and

(D) Immediate action must be taken if the student displays any signs of medical distress.

(3) Requirements for seclusion rooms. A room or area where a student is placed in seclusion must meet the following criteria:

(A) Continuous visual and aural monitoring of a secluded student is possible;

(B) There must be adequate space for the student to sit or lie down;

(C) There must be adequate lighting;

(D) The room must be equipped with heating, cooling, and ventilation systems comparable to such systems in the rest of the building where the seclusion room or area is located;

(E) The room or area used for seclusion must be free of any objects that pose a potential risk of harm to a student with disabilities or a student in distress; and

(F) If equipped with a door that locks, the lock must automatically disengage in case of an emergency such as a fire or severe weather.

(c) Student restraint. Chemical restraint and/or mechanical restraint of a student is prohibited in Oklahoma public schools. Physical restraint of a student should never be used for the purposes of discipline, punishment, forcing compliance, or as a convenience to staff. In cases where a student has a history of dangerous behavior for which physical restraint was used or considered, the school should have a plan in place for teaching and supporting more appropriate behavior and determining positive methods to prevent behavioral escalations that have previously resulted in the use or consideration of restraint. Physical restraint may only be used under emergency circumstances as outlined below.

(1) Circumstances under which physical restraint of a student is authorized. A student may be physically restrained only if:

(A) The student's actions pose an imminent danger of serious physical harm to the student or other individuals, and not merely a threat to property;

(B) Positive behavior intervention strategies and less restrictive measures appropriate to the behavior exhibited by the student are currently being implemented, but have not effectively de-escalated the threat of danger or harm;

(C) The physical restraint is applied by school personnel who have completed appropriate training that addresses conflict de-escalation, the crisis cycle and associated interventions, CPR and First Aid (including certifications), possible effects of physical restraint, and monitoring the wellbeing of a restrained student; and

(D) The physical restraint lasts only as long as necessary to resolve the threat of danger or harm.

(2) Conditions required during an authorized use of physical restraint. If a student is placed in physical restraint during an emergency situation that meets the criteria of (c)(1) above, the following precautions must be exercised throughout the time the student is restrained:

(A) Under no circumstances may a student be restrained using a prone (facedown) restraint, any restraint that prevents the student from breathing or speaking, or any maneuver that places pressure or weight on the chest, sternum, lungs, diaphragm, neck, throat, or back;

(B) The degree of restriction of the student's freedom of movement may not exceed what is necessary to protect the student or other individuals from the threat of serious physical harm; and

(C) The restraint of the student is continuously witnessed by at least one school employee who is not involved in the physical restraint.

(d) Corporal punishment of students with disabilities not authorized. For all students, the State Department of Education strongly encourages Oklahoma schools to implement disciplinary policies and practices that use evidence based, developmentally appropriate methods informed by an awareness that many students have endured Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and related trauma. As applied to students with disabilities entitled to special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the use of corporal punishment by employees or agents of an Oklahoma public school is prohibited beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.

(e) Incident reporting. Each incident of seclusion, restraint, or corporal punishment of a student with disabilities shall be reported immediately to a school site administrator and documented using the statewide online IEP reporting system. A copy of the documentation shall be placed in the student's file and provided to the student's parent(s) or guardian(s). For each incident of seclusion, restraint, or corporal punishment of a student, the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be notified as soon as possible, and must be notified no later than the school day following the incident or within twenty-four (24) hours of the incident, whichever is first. An IEP meeting may be needed to review or implement a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) for the student.

(f) End-of-year reporting. At the end of each school year, and no later than June 30th, each school district or charter school shall report to the State Department of Education (OSDE) Office of Special Education Services information regarding all incidents of seclusion, restraint, or corporal punishment of a student with disabilities within the district during the school year that just closed. The end-of-year summary report shall include the total number of each type of incident, as well as the number and type of incidents associated with each student to whom seclusion, physical restraint, or corporal punishment was applied. This information will be used to identify districts in need of additional support, training, and guidance in the areas of conflict de-escalation, crisis intervention, Functional Behavior Assessments, the possible effects of seclusion and restraint, and effective behavior intervention planning.

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