5014 Physical Restraint and Seclusion in School Settings

POLICY NO.:               5014                                          DATE APPROVED:      March 15, 2016

SUBJECT:                    Physical Restraint and Seclusion in School Settings

Schools must follow mandated guidelines with regards to the use of seclusion and physical restraint.


  • Physical restraint and seclusion are defined as presented in the Definitions section of this policy.
  • Restraint and seclusion procedures are used as emergency, not treatment, procedures.
  • All school staff members will be provided opportunities to participate in training in positive behavior interventions and supports and de-escalation techniques. All specialized staff will be provided the opportunity to participate in training regarding the use of physical restraint and seclusion.
  • Parents and, where appropriate, students will be offered opportunities to be consulted in the development of positive behavior supports and interventions, behavior plans, emergency or safety plans.
  • Prevention/intervention strategies will be reviewed and revised in situations where: repeated use of physical restraint and seclusion for an individual student occurs; multiple uses of physical restraint and seclusion occur within the same classroom; or where physical restraint and seclusion is repeatedly used by an individual.
  • Incidents of physical restraint and seclusion, or the use of ‘timeout’ outside of a classroom will be documented and copies of this information will be kept at the school and sent to the school district’s superintendent or designate/independent school authority or designate as requested.
  • Regular reviews of the physical restraint and seclusion policy to ensure alignment with current research/practice will occur annually at the direction of the superintendent or designate.


Physical Restraint – is a method of restricting another person’s freedom of movement or mobility – in order to secure and maintain the safety of the person or the safety of others.

The provision of a ‘physical escort’; i.e., temporary touching or holding of a student’s hand, wrist, arm, shoulder or back for the purpose of accompanying and inducing a student who is acting out to walk to a safe location, does not constitute physical restraint.

The provision of physical guidance, or prompting of a student when teaching a skill, redirecting attention, or providing comfort also does not constitute physical restraint.

Seclusion – is the involuntary confinement of a person, alone in a room, enclosure, or space which the person is physically prevented from leaving.

Behaviour strategies, such as ‘time out’, used for social reinforcement as part of a behavior plan, are not considered ‘seclusion’.

The term seclusion does not apply where a student has personally requested to be in a different/secluded location/space.