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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.

46.02: Definitions

As used in 603 CMR 46.00, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

Commissioner shall mean the commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education appointed in accordance with M.G.L. c.15, §1F, or his or her designee.

Consent shall mean agreement by a parent who has been fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which agreement is sought, in his or her native language or other mode of communication, that the parent understands and agrees in writing to carrying out of the activity, and understands that the agreement is voluntary and may be revoked at any time. The agreement describes the activity and lists the records (if any) which will be released and to whom. In seeking parental consent, a public education program shall not condition admission or continued enrollment upon agreement to the proposed use of any restraint.

Department shall mean the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Mechanical restraint shall mean the use of any physical device or equipment to restrict a student's freedom of movement. Mechnical restraint does not include devices implemented by trained school personnel, or utilized by a student that have been prescribed by an appropriate medical or related services professional, and are used for the specific and approved positioning or protective purposes for which such devices were designed. Examples of such devices include: adaptive devices or mechanical supports used to achieve proper body position, balance, or alignment to allow greater freedom of mobility than would be possible without the use of such devices or mechanical supports; vehicle safety restraints when used as intended during the transport of a student in a moving vehicle; restraints for medical immobilization; or orthopedically prescribed devices that permit a student to participate in activities without risk of harm.

Medication restraint shall mean the administration of medication for the purpose of temporarily controlling behavior. Medication prescribed by a licensed physician and authorized by the parent for administration in the school setting in not medication restraint.

Parent shall mean a student's father, mother, or legal guardian or person or agency legally authorized to act on behalf of the student in place of or in conjunction with the father, mother, or legal guardian.

Physical escort shall mean a temporary touching or holding, without the use of force, of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of inducing a student who is agitated to walk to a safe location.

Physical restraint shall mean direct physical contact that prevents or significantly restricts a student's freedom of movement. Physical restraint does not include: brief physical contact to promote student safety, providing physical guidance or prompting when teaching a skill, redirecting attention, providing comfort, or a physical escort.

Principal shall mean the instructional leader or headmaster of a public education school program or his or her designee. The board of directors of a charter school or virtual school, or special education school or program approved under 603 CMR 28.09: Approval of Public or Private Day and Residential Special Education School Programs, shall designate in the restraint prevention and behavior support policy who will serve as principal for purposes of 603 CMR 46.00.

Prone restraint shall mean a physical restraint in which a student is placed face down on the floor or another surface, and physical pressure is applied to the student's body to keep the student in the face-down position.

Public education programs shall mean public schools, including 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), and school events and activities sponsored by such programs. "Programs" may be used in 603 CMR 46.00 to refer to "public education programs." For purposes of 603 CMR 46.00, public education programs shall not include the educational services provided within Department of Youth Services, Department of Mental Health, Department of Public Health, and County Houses of Correction operated or contracted facilities.

School Working Day shall mean a day or partial day that students are in attendance at the public education program for instructional purposes.

Seclusion shall mean the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. Seclusion does not include a time-out as defined in 603 CMR 46.02.

Time-out shall mean 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.

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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