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Education Laws and Regulations

603 CMR 46.00

Prevention of Physical Restraint and Requirements If Used


Most Recently Amended by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, December 16, 2014. Effective January 1, 2016.

46.01: Scope, Purpose and Construction

(1) Scope. 603 CMR 46.00 governs the use of physical restraint on students in publicly funded elementary and secondary education programs, including all Massachusetts public school districts, charter schools, virtual schools, collaborative education programs, and the school day of special education schools approved under 603 CMR 28.09: Approval of Public or Private Day and Residential Special Education School Programs, as provided in 603 CMR 18.05(5)(h). Educational programs in facilities operated by the Department of Youth Services, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Public Health, or County Houses of Correction shall be governed by the restraint, seclusion, and time-out requirements of such agencies.

(2) Purpose. The purpose of 603 CMR 46.00 is to ensure that every student participating in a Massachusetts public education program is free from the use of physical restraint that is inconsistent with 603 CMR 46.00. Physical restraint shall be used only in emergency situations of last resort, after other lawful and less intrusive alternatives have failed or been deemed inappropriate, and with extreme caution. School personnel shall use physical restraint with two goals in mind:

  1. (a) To administer a physical restraint only when needed to protect a student and/or a member of the school community from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm; and

  2. (b) To prevent or minimize any harm to the student as a result of the use of physical restraint.

(3) Construction. Nothing in 603 CMR 46.00 shall be construed to limit the protection afforded publicly funded students under other state or federal laws, including those laws that provide for the rights of students who have been found eligible to receive special education services. Nothing in 603 CMR 46.00 precludes any teacher, employee or agent of a public education program from using reasonable force to protect students, other persons or themselves from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm.

For an official copy of these regulations, please contact the State House Bookstore, at 617-727-2834 or visit Massachusetts State Bookstore.

Last Updated: March 25, 2021

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