Delaware - Restraint and Seclusion: Prohibitions or Restrictions

Area: 
Prohibitions Or Restrictions
Policy Type: 
statute; regulation
Summary: 

State law requires districts to adopt policies limiting use of restraint and seclusion that include comprehensive student protections, including the provision of mandatory training for school personnel.

Delaware Code 14-4112F Limitations on use of seclusion and restraint.

(b)  Prohibition and restriction on use. --

  • (1) Public school personnel are prohibited from imposing on any student the following:
    • a. Chemical restraint; and
    • b. Subject to waiver authorized pursuant to paragraph (c)(4) of this section, mechanical restraint and seclusion.
  • (2) Public school personnel may impose physical restraint only in conformity with all of the following standards:
    • a. The student's behavior presents a significant and imminent risk of bodily harm to self or others;
    • b. The physical restraint does not interfere with the student's ability to communicate in the student's primary language or mode of communication;
    • c. The physical restraint does not interfere with the student's ability to breathe or place weight or pressure on the student's head, throat, or neck;
    • d. The physical restraint does not recklessly exacerbate a medical or physical condition of the student;
    • e. Less restrictive interventions have been ineffective in stopping the imminent risk of bodily harm to the student or others, except in case of a rare and clearly unavoidable emergency circumstance posing imminent risk of bodily harm, including, without limitation, intervening in a student initiated physical assault or altercation;
    • f. For a student with a disability as defined in Chapter 31 of this title or 34 C.F.R. Part 104, the physical restraint does not contravene provisions in an individualized education program (IEP), behavior intervention plan, accommodation plan, or any other planning document for the individual student;
    • g. Personnel use only the amount of force necessary to protect the student or others from the threatened harm;
    • h. The physical restraint ends when a medical condition occurs putting the student at risk of harm or the student's behavior no longer presents an imminent risk of bodily harm to the student or others;
    • i. The physical restraint is within the scope of force authorized by § 468 of Title 11; and
    • j. The physical restraint conforms to applicable regulations promulgated by the Department of Education.

(c)  Department of Education role; regulations. --

  • (1) The Department of Education shall promulgate regulations implementing this section. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
    • a. Requirement of uniform public school data collection on each use of physical restraint, by school, which includes demographic information on affected students such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, and disability category, if any;
    • b. Requirement of timely parental notice in event of use of physical restraint;
    • c. Special procedures and safeguards applicable to use of physical restraint for students with disabilities as defined in Chapter 31 of this title or 34 C.F.R. Part 104; and
    • d. Recommended or required training of public school personnel in implementing this section.
  • (2) To facilitate data collection and analysis, the Department of Education may adopt a uniform reporting document and may require reporting of data in a standardized electronic or nonelectronic format.

Delaware Code 14-4112F Limitations on use of seclusion and restraint.

(a)  Definitions. -- The following words, terms, and phrases when used in this section, shall have the meaning ascribed to them except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

  • (1) "Chemical restraint" means a drug or medication used on a student to control behavior or restrict freedom of movement that is either not medically prescribed for the standard treatment of a student's medical or psychiatric condition or not administered as prescribed.
  • (2) "Mechanical restraint" means the application of any device or object that restricts a student's freedom of movement or normal access to a portion of the body that the student cannot easily remove. "Mechanical restraint" does not include devices or objects used by trained school personnel, or used by a student, for the specific and approved therapeutic or safety purposes for which they were designed and, if applicable, prescribed, including the following:
    • a. Restraints for medical immobilization;
    • b. Adaptive devices or mechanical supports used to allow greater freedom of movement stability than would be possible without use of such devices or mechanical supports;
    • c. Vehicle safety restraints when used as intended during the transport of a student in a moving vehicle;
    • d. Instruction and use of restraints as part of a criminal justice or other course; or
    • e. Notwithstanding their design for other purposes, adaptive use of benign devices or objects, including mittens and caps, to deter self-injury.
  • (3) "Physical restraint" means a restriction imposed by a person that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to freely move arms, legs, body, or head. "Physical restraint" does not include physical contact that:
    • a. Helps a student respond or complete a task;
    • b. Is needed to administer an authorized health-related service or procedure; or
    • c. Is needed to physically escort a student when the student does not resist or the student's resistance is minimal.
  • (4) "Public school personnel" means an employee or contractor of a public school district or charter school. "Public school personnel" does not include the following:
    • a. A law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9200(b) of Title 11; or
    • b. An employee or contractor providing educational services within a Department of Correction or Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services facility.
  • (5) "Seclusion" means the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room, enclosure, or space that is either locked or, while unlocked, physically disallows egress. The use of a "timeout" procedure during which a staff member remains accessible to the student shall not be considered "seclusion."
  • (6) "Timeout" means a behavior management technique in which, to provide a student with the opportunity to reflect or regain self-control, a student is separated from others for a limited period in a setting that is not locked and the exit is not physically blocked by furniture, closed door held shut from outside, or other inanimate object.

Delaware Code 14-4112F Limitations on use of seclusion and restraint.

(b)  Prohibition and restriction on use. --

  • (1) Public school personnel are prohibited from imposing on any student the following:
    • a. Chemical restraint; and
    • b. Subject to waiver authorized pursuant to paragraph (c)(4) of this section, mechanical restraint and seclusion.
  • (2) Public school personnel may impose physical restraint only in conformity with all of the following standards:
    • a. The student's behavior presents a significant and imminent risk of bodily harm to self or others;
    • b. The physical restraint does not interfere with the student's ability to communicate in the student's primary language or mode of communication;
    • c. The physical restraint does not interfere with the student's ability to breathe or place weight or pressure on the student's head, throat, or neck;
    • d. The physical restraint does not recklessly exacerbate a medical or physical condition of the student;
    • e. Less restrictive interventions have been ineffective in stopping the imminent risk of bodily harm to the student or others, except in case of a rare and clearly unavoidable emergency circumstance posing imminent risk of bodily harm, including, without limitation, intervening in a student initiated physical assault or altercation;
    • f. For a student with a disability as defined in Chapter 31 of this title or 34 C.F.R. Part 104, the physical restraint does not contravene provisions in an individualized education program (IEP), behavior intervention plan, accommodation plan, or any other planning document for the individual student;
    • g. Personnel use only the amount of force necessary to protect the student or others from the threatened harm;
    • h. The physical restraint ends when a medical condition occurs putting the student at risk of harm or the student's behavior no longer presents an imminent risk of bodily harm to the student or others;
    • i. The physical restraint is within the scope of force authorized by § 468 of Title 11; and
    • j. The physical restraint conforms to applicable regulations promulgated by the Department of Education.

Delaware Code 14-4112F Limitations on use of seclusion and restraint.

(c)  Department of Education role; regulations. --

  • (1) The Department of Education shall promulgate regulations implementing this section. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
    • a. Requirement of uniform public school data collection on each use of physical restraint, by school, which includes demographic information on affected students such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, and disability category, if any;
    • b. Requirement of timely parental notice in event of use of physical restraint;
    • c. Special procedures and safeguards applicable to use of physical restraint for students with disabilities as defined in Chapter 31 of this title or 34 C.F.R. Part 104; and
    • d. Recommended or required training of public school personnel in implementing this section.
  • (2) To facilitate data collection and analysis, the Department of Education may adopt a uniform reporting document and may require reporting of data in a standardized electronic or nonelectronic format.
  • (3) The Department of Education shall issue an annual report on use of physical restraint which includes rates of usage by school and by subcategories identified in paragraph (c)(1)a. of this section, identifies trends, and analyzes significant results.
  • (4) Unless proscribed by federal law, the Secretary of Education may issue a waiver of the prohibition on mechanical restraint and seclusion for an individual student based on compelling justification and subject to specific conditions and safeguards which must include a requirement of continuous visual staff monitoring and parental notice of each use of mechanical restraint or seclusion.

Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

1.0  Purpose and Authority

  • 1.1 The purpose of these regulations is to establish standards and procedures for the use of physical restraint, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, and seclusion to provide safety for all individuals. The regulations set forth permitted and prohibited uses of restraint and seclusion, required training for public school, private program, or alternative program personnel, required documentation and reporting of incidents of restraint and seclusion, required notification to parents, and waiver procedures for individual students.
  • 1.2 These regulations are promulgated in accordance with 14 Del.C. §4112F.

Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

2.0 Definitions

  • Chemical restraint" means a drug or medication used on a student to control behavior or restrict freedom of movement that is either not medically prescribed for the standard treatment of a student's medical or psychiatric condition or not administered as prescribed.
    (Authority: 14 Del.C. §4112F(a)(1)).
  • "Mechanical restraint" means the application of any device or object that restricts a student's freedom of movement or normal access to a portion of the body that the student cannot easily remove. "Mechanical restraint" does not include devices or objects used by trained school personnel, or used by a student, for the specific and approved therapeutic or safety purposes for which they were designed and, if applicable, prescribed, including the following:
    • Restraints for medical immobilization;
    • Adaptive devices or mechanical supports used to allow greater freedom of movement stability than would be possible without use of such devices or mechanical supports;
    • Vehicle safety restraints when used as intended during the transport of a student in a moving vehicle;
    • Instruction and use of restraints as part of a criminal justice or other course; or
    • Notwithstanding their design for other purposes, adaptive use of benign devices or objects, including mittens and caps, to deter self-injury.

Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

2.0 Definitions

  • "Physical restraint" means a restriction imposed by a person that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to freely move arms, legs, body, or head. "Physical restraint" does not include physical contact that:
    • Helps a student respond or complete a task;
    • Is needed to administer an authorized health-related service or procedure; or
    • Is needed to physically escort a student when the student does not resist or the student's resistance is minimal.

Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

2.0 Definitions

  • "Seclusion" means the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room, enclosure, or space that is either locked or, while unlocked, physically disallows egress. The use of a "timeout" procedure during which a staff member remains accessible to the student shall not be considered "seclusion." (Authority: 14 Del.C. §4112F(a)(5))

  • "Student" means any individual enrolled in a Delaware public school or charter school, an alternative program pursuant to 14 Del.C. Ch. 16, or a private program pursuant to Title 14 Del.C., Chapter 31, Section 3124.

  • "Timeout" means a behavior management technique in which, to provide a student with the opportunity to reflect or regain self-control, a student is separated from others for a limited period in a setting that is not locked and the exit is not physically blocked by furniture, closed door held shut from outside, or other inanimate object.


Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

3.0  Use of Restraints

  • 3.1 Public school personnel, private program personnel, and alternative program personnel are prohibited from imposing on any student:
    • 3.1.1 Chemical restraint; and
    • 3.1.2 Subject to waiver authorized by 14 Del.C. §4112F(c)(4) and Section 8.0, mechanical restraint and seclusion.
  • 3.2 Such personnel may impose physical restraint only in conformity with all of the following standards:
    • 3.2.1 The student's behavior presents a significant and imminent risk of bodily harm to self or others;
    • 3.2.2 The physical restraint does not interfere with the student's ability to communicate in the student's primary language or mode of communication;
    • 3.2.3 The physical restraint does not interfere with the student's ability to breathe or place weight or pressure on the student's head, throat, or neck;
    • 3.2.4 The physical restraint does not recklessly exacerbate a medical or physical condition of the student;
    • 3.2.5 Less restrictive interventions have been ineffective in stopping the imminent risk of bodily harm to the student or others, except in case of a rare and clearly unavoidable emergency circumstance posing imminent risk of bodily harm, including, without limitation, intervening in a student initiated physical assault or altercation;
    • 3.2.6 For a student with a disability as defined in Chapter 31 of Title 14 or 34 C.F.R. Part 104, the physical restraint does not contravene provisions in an individualized education program (IEP), behavior intervention plan, accommodation plan, or any other planning document for the individual student;
    • 3.2.7 Personnel use only the amount of force necessary to protect the student or others from the threatened harm;
    • 3.2.8 The physical restraint ends when a medical condition occurs putting the student at risk of harm or the student's behavior no longer presents an imminent risk of bodily harm to the student or others;
    • 3.2.9 The physical restraint is within the scope of force authorized by §468 of Title 11.

(Authority: 14 Del.C. §4112F(b))


Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

4.0  Training of Personnel

  • 4.1 Except as provided in 14 Del.C. §702(c), a student may be physically restrained only by public school personnel, private program personnel, or alternative program personnel who have completed training in physical restraint procedures.
    • 4.1.1 Such personnel shall receive annual training in the use of crisis prevention and intervention techniques consistent with nationally-recognized training programs, which shall meet the following minimum requirements:
      • 4.1.1.1 The training shall address prevention techniques, de-escalation techniques, and positive behavioral intervention strategies and supports;
      • 4.1.1.2 The training shall be designed to meet the needs of such personnel consistent with their duties and the potential need for emergency safety interventions; and
    • 4.1.2 Each public school, private program, and alternative program shall maintain written or electronic documentation of each training provided, which shall include a list of all personnel who participated in the training.
  • 4.2 Any public school personnel responsible for reporting the physical restraint of a student to the Department shall complete training on the reporting process approved by the Department and any additional training that the Department may prescribe from time to time.
    • 4.2.1 The approved training shall be provided using a web-based platform through the Department's Professional Development Management System (PDMS) or similar system. The training will be provided on an annual basis and made available throughout each school year.
    • 4.2.2 Such personnel responsible for reporting the physical restraint of a student shall complete the approved training at least once every three (3) years and during any year in which reporting procedures were changed from the previous year as indicated by the Department.

Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

5.0  Parental Notification of Use of Physical Restraint

  • 5.1 Except as provided in Section 5.1.1, if a student is physically restrained, a reasonable attempt shall be made to notify the parent on the same day, but in no event later than twenty-four hours after, the physical restraint is used. Such notification shall be made in person, by phone or by voicemail, or by e-mail. The school shall maintain written documentation of successful and unsuccessful attempts to notify the parent.
    • 5.1.1 Where physical restraint is included in the student's IEP or Section 504 Plan, the IEP Team or Section 504 Team, including the parent, shall determine a timeframe and manner of notification of each incident of physical restraint.
  • 5.2 The parent shall be provided a copy of a final written report no later than the date on which such report is filed with the Department. The written report shall contain, at a minimum, the information required under Section 6.0.

6.0  Uniform Data Collection

  • 6.1 When an incident of physical restraint of a student by school personnel occurs:
    • 6.1.1 As soon as practicable thereafter, a reasonable attempt shall be made to interview the student regarding the incident; and
    • 6.1.2 The school principal must provide a written report, in a uniform format as determined by the Department, of the restraint to the Department within seventy-two (72) hours of the restraint, or within seventy-two (72) hours of the time in which the student's district or charter school of residence receives notice of the restraint from the contracted private program or alternative program, whichever the case may be; and
    • 6.1.3 The written report shall include, at a minimum:
      • 6.1.3.1 Details of the restraint incident, including, but not limited to, the student behavior and description of events leading to the use of physical restraint; de-escalation techniques utilized by school personnel prior to the restraint; a description of the student's behavior during the restraint; a summary of witness interviews, if applicable; any injury caused to the student, staff member(s), or other student(s); and any related treatment deemed necessary as a result of the restraint.
      • 6.1.3.2 Demographic information on affected students to include age, race, ethnicity, and disability category;
      • 6.1.3.3 A description of the interview conducted with the student, if applicable; and
      • 6.1.3.4 If applicable, a description of changes to any or all of the following that resulted from the restraint incident:
        • 6.1.3.4.1 For a student with a disability as defined in Chapter 31 of Title 14 or 34 C.F.R. Part 104, the student's IEP, behavioral support, crisis intervention plan, accommodation plan, or any other planning document for the individual student;
        • 6.1.3.4.2 School/LEA policy or procedure; or
        • 6.1.3.4.3 Additional staff training.

Delaware Administrative Code 14-610 Limitations on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

7.0  Annual Reporting Requirement

The Department shall issue an annual report on the use of physical restraint, which shall include rates of usage by school and by subcategories identified pursuant to Section 6.0, identify trends, and analyze significant results. The report shall be posted on the Department's website.

8.0  Waiver

  • 8.1 Any public school, private program, or alternative program applicant for a waiver of the prohibition on the use of mechanical restraints or seclusion for an individual student must deliver the request in writing, in a uniform format developed by the Department, to the Secretary or Secretary's designee setting forth the grounds for the request.
    • 8.1.1 The request shall be based on compelling justification supported by documentation, including, but not limited to, educational records, reporting of incidents, and the student's functional behavioral assessment and behavioral intervention plan, including implementation data, and medical documentation, if applicable.
    • 8.1.2 The request shall contain a description of the conditions and safeguards that the applicant will utilize in connection with the waiver, including, but not limited to:
      • 8.1.2.1 A detailed description of the proposed continual visual staff monitoring of student;
      • 8.1.2.2 A requirement that the parent be notified of each use of mechanical restraint or seclusion which conforms to the procedure set forth in Section 5.0 for reporting physical restraint except that the provisions of 5.1.1 shall not apply herein; and
      • 8.1.2.3 A detailed description of the physical space within which the seclusion(s) will occur, or of the type of mechanical restraint(s) to be utilized, whichever is applicable.
    • 8.1.3 The request shall include a written authorization signed by the parent agreeing to the issuance of a waiver on the prohibition of the use of mechanical restraints or seclusion for that student and a signed written consent for release of information to the Department and the waiver review committee.
    • 8.1.4 All privileged documentation shall be maintained confidentially by the Department and the waiver review committee to the extent permitted by law.
  • 8.2 All requests shall be considered by a waiver review committee appointed by the Secretary. A decision by the waiver review committee shall be rendered no later than (60) sixty calendar days of receipt of the waiver request.
  • 8.3 The committee shall make a written recommendation to the Secretary, which shall include:
    • 8.3.1 A summary of the compelling justification based on the documentation submitted in support of the waiver requested;
    • 8.3.2 Recommendations to include any specific conditions and safeguards, and a brief statement of the reasons therefore;
    • 8.3.3 A requirement that, where a waiver is issued, there be continual visual monitoring, parental notice of each use of mechanical restraint or seclusion, and collection of data to include the number of times the student was subject to mechanical restraint or seclusion, the duration of each mechanical restraint or seclusion, and any other data as required by the Department;
    • 8.3.4 A statement as to the duration of the waiver, not to exceed a period of one calendar year.
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