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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.

46.04: Policy and Procedures; Training

(1) Procedures. Public education programs shall develop and implement written restraint prevention and behavior support policy and procedures consistent with 603 CMR 46.00 regarding appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention. Such policy and procedures shall be annually reviewed and provided to program staff and made available to parents of enrolled students. Such policy and procedures shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. (a) Methods for preventing student violence, self-injurious behavior, and suicide, including individual crisis planning and de-escalation of potentially dangerous behavior occurring among groups of students or with an individual student;

  2. (b) Methods for engaging parents in discussions about restraint prevention and the use of restraint solely as an emergency procedure;

  3. (c) A description and explanation of the program's alternatives to physical restraint and method of physical restraint in emergency situations;

  4. (d) A statement prohibiting: medication restraint, mechanical restraint, prone restraint unless permitted pursuant to 603 CMR 46.03(1)(b), seclusion, and the use of physical restraint in a manner inconsistent with 603 CMR 46.00;

  5. (e) A description of the program's training requirements, reporting requirements, and follow-up procedures;

  6. (f) A procedure for receiving and investigating complaints regarding restraint practices;

  7. (g) A procedure for conducting periodic review of data and documentation on the use of physical restraints as described in 603 CMR 46.06(5) and (6);

  8. (h) A procedure for implementing the reporting requirements as described in 603 CMR 46.06;

  9. (i) A procedure for making reasonable efforts to orally notify a parent of the use of restraint on a student within 24 hours of the restraint, and for sending written notification to the parent within three school working days following the use of restraint to an email address provided by the parent for the purpose of communicating about the student, or by regular mail to the parent postmarked within three school working days of the restraint; and,

  10. (j) If the program uses time-out as a behavioral support strategy, a procedure for the use of time-out that includes a process for obtaining principal approval of time-out for more than 30 minutes based on the individual student's continuing agitation.

(2) Required training for all staff. Each principal or director shall determine a time and method to provide all program staff with training regarding the program's restraint prevention and behavior support policy and requirements when restraint is used. Such training shall occur within the first month of each school year and, for employees hired after the school year begins, within a month of their employment. Training shall include information on the following:

  1. (a) The role of the student, family, and staff in preventing restraint;

  2. (b) The program's restraint prevention and behavior support policy and procedures, including use of time-out as a behavior support strategy distinct from seclusion;

  3. (c) Interventions that may preclude the need for restraint, including de-escalation of problematic behaviors and other alternatives to restraint in emergency circumstances;

  4. (d) When behavior presents an emergency that requires physical restraint, the types of permitted physical restraints and related safety considerations, including information regarding the increased risk of injury to a student when any restraint is used, in particular a restraint of extended duration;

  5. (e) Administering physical restraint in accordance with medical or psychological limitations, known or suspected trauma history, and/or behavioral intervention plans applicable to an individual student; and

  6. (f) Identification of program staff who have received in-depth training pursuant to 603 CMR 46.03(3) in the use of physical restraint.

(3) In-depth staff training in the use of physical restraint. At the beginning of each school year, the principal of each public education program or his or her designee shall identify program staff who are authorized to serve as a school-wide resource to assist in ensuring proper administration of physical restraint. Such staff shall participate in in-depth training in the use of physical restraint. The Department recommends that such training be competency-based and be at least sixteen (16) hours in length with at least one refresher training occurring annually thereafter.

(4) Content of in-depth training. In-depth training in the proper administration of physical restraint shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. (a) Appropriate procedures for preventing the use of physical restraint, including the de-escalation of problematic behavior, relationship building and the use of alternatives to restraint;

  2. (b) A description and identification of specific dangerous behaviors on the part of students that may lead to the use of physical restraint and methods for evaluating the risk of harm in individual situations in order to determine whether the use of restraint is warranted;

  3. (c) The simulated experience of administering and receiving physical restraint, instruction regarding the effect(s) on the person restrained, including instruction on monitoring physical signs of distress and obtaining medical assistance;

  4. (d) Instruction regarding documentation and reporting requirements and investigation of injuries and complaints;

  5. (e) Demonstration by participants of proficiency in administering physical restraint; and,

  6. (f) Instruction regarding the impact of physical restraint on the student and family, recognizing the act of restraint has impact, including but not limited to psychological, physiological, and social-emotional effects.

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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