Utah School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

Discipline Compendium

Utah School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Restraint and Seclusion

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

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LAWS

§ 53G-8-203. Conduct and discipline policies and procedures.

(1) The conduct and discipline policies required under Section 53G-8-202 shall include:

(d) procedures for the use of reasonable and necessary physical restraint in dealing with students posing a danger to themselves or others, consistent with Section 53G-8-302.

§ 53G-8-209. Extracurricular activities–Prohibited conduct–Reporting of violations–Limitation of liability.

(2)(a) The state board may, and local school boards and charter school governing boards shall, adopt rules or policies implementing this section that apply to both students and staff.

(b) The rules or policies described in Subsection (2)(a) shall include prohibitions against the following types of conduct in accordance with Section 53G-8-211, while in the classroom, on school property, during school sponsored activities, or regardless of the location or circumstance, affecting a person or property described in Subsections 53G-8-203(1)(e)(i) through (iv):

(iii) hazing, demeaning, or assaultive behavior, whether consensual or not, including behavior involving physical violence, restraint, improper touching, or inappropriate exposure of body parts not normally exposed in public settings, forced ingestion of any substance, or any act which would constitute a crime against a person or public order under state law.

§ 53G-8-301. Definitions.

As used in this part:

(3) "Physical restraint" means a personal restriction that immobilizes or significantly reduces the ability of a student to move the student's arms, legs, body, or head freely.

§ 53G-8-302. Prohibition of corporal punishment–Use of reasonable and necessary physical restraint.

(2) A school employee may use reasonable and necessary physical restraint in self defense or when otherwise appropriate to the circumstances to:

(a) obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous object in the possession or under the control of a student;

(b) protect a student or another individual from physical injury;

(c) remove from a situation a student who is violent; or

(d) protect property from being damaged, when physical safety is at risk.

§ 53G-8-303. Investigation of complaint–Confidentiality–Immunity.

(1)(a) The reporting and investigation requirements of Title 62A, Chapter 4a, Part 4, Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Requirements, apply to complaints on corporal punishment.

(b) If a violation is confirmed, school authorities shall take prompt and appropriate action, including in-service training and other administrative action, to ensure against a repetition of the violation.

(2) Reports made on violations of this part are subject to the same requirements of confidentiality as provided under Section 62A-4a-412.

(3) Any school or individual who in good faith makes a report or cooperates in an investigation by a school or authorized public agency concerning a violation of this part is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise result by reason of those actions.

§ 53G-8-304. Liability.

(1)(a) Corporal punishment which would, but for this part, be considered to be reasonable discipline of a minor under Section 76-2-401 may not be used as a basis for any civil or criminal action.

(b) A court of competent jurisdiction may take appropriate action against any employing entity if the court finds that the employing entity has not taken reasonable steps to enforce the provisions of this part.

(2) Civil or criminal action may proceed without hindrance in the case of corporal punishment which would not be reasonable discipline under Sections 53G-8-305 and 76-2-401.

§ 53G-8-305. Exception.

Behavior reduction intervention which is in compliance with Section 76-2-401 and with state and local rules adopted under Section 53E-7-204 is excepted from this part.

REGULATIONS

R277-605-4. Coaches and School Activity Leaders as Supervisors and Role Models.

(3) Coaches, assistants and advisors shall act in a manner consistent with Section 53G-8-209 and may not:

(a) use foul, abusive, or profane language while engaged in school related activities; or

(b) permit hazing, demeaning, or assaultive behavior, whether consensual or not, including behavior involving physical violence, restraint, improper touching, or inappropriate exposure of body parts not normally exposed in public settings, forced ingestion of any substance, or any act which would constitute a crime against a person or public order under Utah law.

R277-608-1. Authority and Purpose.

(1) This rule is authorized by:

(a) Utah Constitution Article X, Section 3, which vests general control and supervision over public education in the Board;

(b) Subsection 53E-3-401(4), which allows the Board to make rules to execute the Board's duties and responsibilities under the Utah Constitution and state law; and

(c) Sections 53G-8-301 through 53G-8-305, which provide guidelines for the use of reasonable and necessary physical restraint or force in educational settings.

(2) The purpose of this rule is to direct LEAs to have policies in place that prohibit corporal punishment consistent with the law.

R277-609-1. Authority and purpose.

(1) This rule is authorized by:

(g) Section 53G-8-302, which describes the instances when a school employee may use reasonable and necessary physical restraint.

R277-609-2. Definitions.

(4)(a) "Emergency safety intervention" or "ESI" means the use of seclusionary time out or physical restraint when a student presents an immediate danger to self or others. […]

(12) "Physical restraint" has the same meaning as defined in Section 53G-8-301. [...]

(22) "Seclusionary time out" means that a student is:

(a) placed in a safe enclosed area by school personnel in accordance with the requirements of Rules R392-200 and R710-4;

(b) purposefully isolated from adults and peers; and

(c) prevented from leaving, or reasonably believes that the student will be prevented from leaving, the enclosed area.

R277-609-3. Incorporation of least restricted behavioral interventions (LRBI) technical assistance manual by reference.

(1) This rule incorporates by reference the LRBI Technical Assistance Manual, dated September 2015, which provides guidance and information in creating successful behavioral systems and supports within Utah's public schools that:

(a) promote positive behaviors while preventing negative or risky behaviors; and

(b) create a safe learning environment that enhances all student outcomes.

(2) A copy of the manual is located at:

(a) https://www.schools.utah.gov/safehealthyschools/programs/behaviorsupport?mid=5333&tid=2; and

(b) the Utah State Board of Education.

R277-609-4. LEA Responsibility to Develop Plans.

(4) A plan described in Subsection (1) shall include:

(l) policies and procedures for the use of emergency safety interventions for all students consistent with evidence-based practices including prohibition of:

(i) physical restraint, subject to the requirements of Section R277-609-5, except when the physical restraint is allowed as described in Subsection 53G-8-302(2);

(ii) prone, or face-down, physical restraint;

(iii) supine, or face-up, physical restraint;

(iv) physical restraint that obstructs the airway of a student or adversely affects a student's primary mode of communication;

(v) mechanical restraint, except:

(A) protective or stabilizing restraints;

(B) restraints required by law, including seatbelts or any other safety equipment when used to secure students during transportation; and

(C) any device used by a law enforcement officer in carrying out law enforcement duties;

(vi) chemical restraint, except as:

(A) prescribed by a licensed physician, or other qualified health professional acting under the scope of the professional's authority under State law, for the standard treatment of a student's medical or psychiatric condition; and

(B) administered as prescribed by the licensed physician or other qualified health professional acting under the scope of the professional's authority under state law;

(vii) seclusionary time out, subject to the requirements of Section R277-609-5, except when a student presents an immediate danger of serious physical harm to self or others; and

(viii) for a student with a disability, emergency safety interventions written into a student's IEP, as a planned intervention, unless:

(A) school personnel, the family, and the IEP team agree less restrictive means have been attempted;

(B) a FBA has been conducted; and

(C) a positive behavior intervention, based on data analysis has been written into the plan and implemented.

R277-609-5. Physical Restraint and Seclusionary Time Out.

(1) When used consistently with an LEA plan under Subsection R277-609-4(1):

(a) a physical restraint must be immediately terminated when:

(i) a student is no longer an immediate danger to self or others; or

(ii) a student is in severe distress; and

(b) the use of physical restraint shall be for the minimum time necessary to ensure safety and a release criteria, as outlined in LEA policies, must be implemented.

(2) If a public education employee physically restrains a student, the school or the public education employee shall provide notice as soon as reasonably possible and before the student leaves the school as described in Section R277-609-10 to the student's parent.

(b) school administration.

(3) A public education employee may not use physical restraint on a student for more than the shortest of the following before stopping, releasing, and reassessing the intervention used:

(a) the amount of time described in the LEA's emergency intervention training program;

(b) 30 minutes; or

(c) when law enforcement arrives.

(4) A public education employee may not use physical restraint as a means of discipline or punishment.

(5) If a public education employee uses seclusionary time out, the public education employee shall:

(a) use the minimum time necessary to ensure safety;

(b) use release criteria as outlined in LEA policies;

(c) ensure that any door remains unlocked consistent with the fire and public safety requirements described in R392-200 and R710-4;

(d) maintain the student within line of sight of the public education employee;

(e) use the seclusionary time out consistent with the LEA's plan described in Section R277-609-4; and

(f) ensure that the enclosed area meets the fire and public safety requirements described in R392-200 and R710-4.

(6) If a student is placed in seclusionary time out, the school or the public education employee shall provide notice as soon as reasonably possible and before the student leaves the school to:

(a) the student's parent; and

(b) school administration.

(7) A public education employee may not place a student in a seclusionary time out for more than 30 minutes.

(8) In addition to the notice described in Subsection (6), if a public education employee places a student in seclusionary time out for more than fifteen minutes, the school or the public education employee shall immediately provide notice to:

(a) the student's parent or guardian; and

(b) school administration.

(9) Seclusionary time out may only be used for maintaining safety.

(10) A public education employee may not use seclusionary time out as a means of discipline or punishment.

R277-609-6. Implementation.

(1) An LEA shall implement strategies and policies consistent with the LEA's plan required in Section R277-609-4.

(2) An LEA shall develop, use and monitor a continuum of intervention strategies to assist students, including students whose behavior in school falls repeatedly short of reasonable expectations, by teaching student behavior expectations, reinforcing student behavior expectations, re-teaching behavior expectations, followed by effective, evidence-based interventions matched to student needs prior to suspension or court referral.

(3) An LEA shall implement positive behavior interventions, supports, and restorative practices as part of the LEA's continuum of behavior interventions strategies.

R277-609-7. LEA Emergency Safety Intervention (ESI).

(1) An LEA shall establish an Emergency Safety Intervention (ESI) Committee.

(2) An LEA's ESI Committee:

(a) shall include:

(i) at least two administrators;

(ii) at least one parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the LEA, appointed by the LEA; and

(iii) at least two certified educational professionals with behavior training and knowledge in both state rules and LEA discipline policies;

(b) shall meet often enough to monitor the use of emergency safety intervention in the LEA;

(c) shall determine and recommend professional development needs; and

(d) shall develop policies for local dispute resolution processes to address concerns regarding disciplinary actions; and

(e) shall ensure that each emergency incident where a school employee uses an emergency safety intervention is documented in the LEA's student information system and reported to the Superintendent through the Board's Utah Transcript and Record Exchange (UTREx) system.

R277-609-8. LEA Reporting.

(1) An LEA shall have procedures for the collection, maintenance, and periodic review of documentation or records of the use of emergency safety interventions at schools within the LEA.

(2) The Superintendent shall define the procedures for the collection, maintenance, and review of records described in Subsection (1).

(3) An LEA shall provide documentation of any school, program or LEA's use of emergency safety interventions to the Superintendent annually.

(4)(a) An LEA shall submit all required UTREx discipline data and incident or infraction data elements and suspensions to the Superintendent no later than June 30 of each year.

(b) Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, an LEA shall submit all required UTREx discipline data and incident or infraction data elements as part of the LEA's daily UTREx submission.

R277-609-9. Special Education Exception to this Rule.

(1) An LEA shall have in place, as part of its LEA special education policies, procedures, or practices, criteria and steps for using emergency safety interventions consistent with state and federal law.

(2) The Superintendent shall periodically review:

(a) all LEA special education behavior intervention, procedures, and manuals; and

(b) emergency safety intervention data as related to IDEA eligible students in accordance with Utah's Program Improvement and Planning System.

R277-609-10. Parent/Guardian Notification and Court Referral.

(3)(a) When an emergency safety intervention is used to protect a student or others from harm, a school shall:

(i) provide notice to the student's parent as soon as reasonably possibly and before the student leaves the school;

(ii) provide notice to school administration; and

(iii) provide documentation of the emergency safety intervention to the LEA's ESI Committee described in Section R277-609-7.

(b) In addition to the notice described in Subsection (3)(a), if the use of an emergency safety intervention occurs for more than 15 minutes, the school shall immediately provide a second notification to:

(i) the student's parent or guardian; and

(ii) school administration.

(d) A notice described in Subsection (3)(a) shall be documented within student information systems (SIS) records.

(4)(a) A school shall provide a parent or guardian with a copy of any notes or additional documentation taken during the use of the emergency safety intervention upon request of the parent or guardian.

(b) Within 24 hours of the school using an emergency safety intervention with a student, a school shall provide notice to a parent or guardian that the parent or guardian may request a copy of any notes or additional documentation taken during the use of the emergency safety intervention.

(c) A parent or guardian may request a time to meet with school staff and administration to discuss the use of an emergency safety intervention.

R277-609-11. Model Policies.

(1) The Superintendent shall develop, review regularly, and provide to LEA boards model policies to address disruptive student behavior and appropriate consequences.

(2) The Superintendent shall provide technical assistance to LEAs in developing and implementing policies and training employees in the appropriate use of physical force and emergency safety interventions to the extent of resources available.

R277-609-12. LEA Compliance.

If an LEA fails to comply with this rule, the Superintendent may withhold funds in accordance with Rule R277-114 or impose any other sanction authorized by law.

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