Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools




170 Chestnut Street,
Amherst MA 01002

Policy JKAA: Physical Restraint

Home 5 Policy JKAA: Physical Restraint

This policy complies with the revised physical restraint regulations at 603 CMR 46.01 et seq., effective on January 1, 2016

Physical restraint is defined as direct physical contact that prevents or significantly restricts a student’s freedom of movement. Physical restraint shall be used as a last resort, after other lawful and less intrusive alternatives have failed or been deemed inappropriate.  Physical restraint shall be used with extreme caution. Physical restraint shall only be used when needed to protect a student and/or a member of the Amherst, Pelham, or Amherst-Pelham Regional school community from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm. Furthermore, any such physical restraint shall be administered so as to prevent or minimize any harm to the student.

This policy, as well as the procedures developed for the implementation of this policy, shall be reviewed annually with, and provided to the Amherst, Pelham, or Amherst-Pelham Regional School staff.  Further, the policy and the procedures shall be made available to the Parents of enrolled students.  Nothing in this policy or the procedures developed pursuant to this policy,  precludes any teacher, employee, or agent of the Amherst, Pelham, or Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools from using reasonable force to protect students, other persons, or themselves from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm.

Methods for preventing student violence, self-injurious behavior, and suicide shall include instruction on social-emotional learning, Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction and intervention, when needed as well as de-escalation techniques. Mental health team personnel shall have training and expertise to help students learn the skills to regulate their feelings and behavior.  Each building shall have personnel trained and certified in CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute) techniques or similar crisis intervention training program.

The Amherst, Pelham, or Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools will conduct an annual workshop, open to the entire school community, concerning restraint prevention and the use of restraint solely as  a last resort procedure. This workshop may be coordinated with the special education parent advisory council (SEPAC), the parent guardian organization (PGO), and other relevant community groups. Any parent with concerns about the use of physical restraint at any school within the Amherst, Pelham, or Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools may request a meeting with the building Principal and/or the Superintendent to discuss such concerns. Any individual who believes that a physical restraint of a student may have been unwarranted or conducted inappropriately may also make use of the Grievance Procedure.  

Physical restraint shall not be used unless the following, less intrusive behavior interventions and supports have been unsuccessful or deemed inappropriate by school staff:

  • Positive behavioral interventions
  • Verbal redirection
  • Verbal directive to cease behavior
  • Opportunity for a break
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Loss of earned tokens/rewards/privileges
  • Opportunity for time-out
  • Physical escort to a separate space for time-out

Physical restraint shall not be used as a means of discipline or punishment; if the student cannot be safely restrained due to medical contraindications which have been documented by a licensed physician and provided to the District; as a response to property destruction, disruption, refusal to comply with rules or staff directives, or verbal threats when those actions do not constitute a threat of assault or imminent, serious, physical harm. Physical restraint shall not be used as a standard response for any individual student.

No written Behavior Plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) may include “physical restraint” as a standard response to any behavior.

Physical restraint shall only be administered by trained personnel, using only the amount of force necessary to protect the student or other member(s) of the school community from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm. All physical restraints shall be administered in compliance with 603 CMR 46.00. 

Prohibited Forms of Restraint include medication restraint, mechanical restraint, and seclusion restraint, as defined in 603 CMR 46.02.

Interventions short of physical restraint may include Time-Out which is defined as a behavioral support strategy developed pursuant to 603 CMR 46.04(1) in which a student temporarily separates from the learning activity or the classroom, either by choice or by direction from staff, for the purpose of calming. During time-out, a student must be continuously observed by a staff member.  Staff shall be with the student or immediately available to the student at all times. The space used for time-out must be clean, safe, sanitary, and appropriate for the purpose of calming. Time-out shall cease as soon as the student has calmed.

  • Inclusionary time-out (i.e; student in the settling area, however he/she still carrying out with the same activity that everyone else is doing);
  • Exclusionary time out (i.e: a  settling area in the in classroom where a partition may separate student from activity within the classroom or a time-out space outside of the classroom) – An exclusionary time-out can only exceed thirty (30) minutes when the principal has given written approval for that incident. 

Consistent with 603 CMR sect. 46.00, et seq.  the administration shall develop in-depth procedures for full implementation of the requirements of 603 CMR. Sect. 46.00, et seq.  These procedures shall include, but are not limited to, restraint reporting, training requirements, and complaint procedures for parents/guardians of students. 

Legal Reference:        603 CMR sect. 46,00, et seq.


Region:  6/14/16