Louisiana - Restraint and Seclusion: Prohibitions or Restrictions

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

Louisiana Administrative Code 28 XLIII 540 Definitions

A. As used in these Sections 541 through 543:

    1. Imminent Risk of Harm--an immediate and impending threat of a person causing substantial injury to self or others;
    1. Mechanical Restraint--
      • a. the application of any device or object used to limit a person's movement;
    • b. does not include:

      • i. a protective or stabilizing device used in strict accordance with the manufacturer's instructions for proper use and which is used in compliance with orders issued by an appropriately licensed health care provider;

      • ii. any device used by a duly licensed law enforcement officer in the execution of his official duties;

    1. Physical Restraint--
      • a. bodily force used to limit a person's movement;
    • b. does not include:

      • i. consensual, solicited, or unintentional contact;

      • ii. momentary blocking of a student's action if said action is likely to result in harm to the student or any other person;

      • iii. holding of a student, by one school employee, for the purpose of calming or comforting the student, provided the student's freedom of movement or normal access to his or her body is not restricted;

      • iv. minimal physical contact for the purpose of safely escorting a student from one area to another; or

      • v. minimal physical contact for the purpose of assisting the student in completing a task or response;

    1. Positive Behavior Interventions and Support--a systematic approach to embed evidence-based practices and data-driven decision making when addressing student behavior in order to improve school climate;
    1. Seclusion--a procedure that isolates and confines a student in a separate room or area until he or she is no longer an immediate danger to self or others;
    1. Seclusion Room--a room or other confined area, used on an individual basis, in which a student is removed from the regular classroom setting for a limited time to allow the student the opportunity to regain control in a private setting and from which the student is involuntarily prevented from leaving;
    1. School Employee--a teacher, paraprofessional, administrator, support staff member, or a provider of related services;
    1. Written Guidelines and Procedures--the written guidelines and procedures adopted by a school's governing authority regarding appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.

Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:416.21 Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and phyiscal restraint

A. As used in this Section:

(1)  “Imminent risk of harm” means an immediate and impending threat of a person causing substantial physical injury to self or others.

(2)(a)  “Mechanical restraint” means the application of any device or object used to limit a person’s movement.

  • (b)  Mechanical restraint does not include:

    • (i)  A protective or stabilizing device used in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and which is used in compliance with orders issued by an appropriately licensed health care provider.

    • (ii)  Any device used by a duly licensed law enforcement officer in the execution of his official duties.

(3)(a)  “Physical restraint” means bodily force used to limit a person’s movement.

  • (b)  Physical restraint does not include:

    • (i)  Consensual, solicited, or unintentional contact.

    • (ii)  Momentary blocking of a student’s action if the student’s action is likely to result in harm to the student or any other person.

    • (iii)  Holding of a student, by one school employee, for the purpose of calming or comforting the student, provided the student’s freedom of movement or normal access to his or her body is not restricted.

    • (iv)  Minimal physical contact for the purpose of safely escorting a student from one area to another.

    • (v)  Minimal physical contact for the purpose of assisting the student in completing a task or response.

(4)  “Positive behavior interventions and support” means a systematic approach to embed evidence-based practices and data-driven decision making when addressing student behavior in order to improve school climate and culture.

(5)  “School employee” means a teacher, paraprofessional, administrator, support staff member, or a provider of related services.

(6)  “Seclusion” means a procedure that isolates and confines a student in a separate room or area until he or she is no longer an immediate danger to self or others.

(7)  “Seclusion room” means a room or other confined area, used on an individual basis, in which a student is removed from the regular classroom setting for a limited time to allow the student the opportunity to regain control in a private setting and from which the student is involuntarily prevented from leaving.

(8)  “Written guidelines and procedures” means the written guidelines and procedures adopted by a school’s governing authority regarding appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.

B. (1)  Seclusion shall be used only:

  • (a)  For behaviors that involve an imminent risk of harm.

  • (b)  As a last resort when de-escalation attempts have failed and the student continues to pose an imminent threat to self or others.

(2)  Seclusion shall not be used to address behaviors such as general noncompliance, self-stimulation, and academic refusal. Such behaviors shall be responded to with less stringent and less restrictive techniques.
Source: Louisiana State Legislature


Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:416.21 Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and phyiscal restraint

B.(3)(a) A seclusion room shall be used only as a last resort if and when less restrictive measures, such as positive behavioral supports, constructive and non-physical de-escalation, and restructuring of a student’s environment, have failed to stop a student’s actions that pose an imminent risk of harm.

  • (b)  A student shall be placed in a seclusion room only by a school employee who uses accepted methods of escorting a student to a seclusion room, placing a student in a seclusion room, and supervising a student while he or she is in the seclusion room.

  • (c)  Only one student may be placed in a seclusion room at any given time, and the school employee supervising the student must be able to see and hear the student the entire time the student is placed in the seclusion room.

(4)  A seclusion room shall:

  • (a)  Be free of any object that poses a danger to the student placed in the room.

  • (b)  Have an observation window and be of a size that is appropriate for the student’s size, behavior, and chronological and developmental age.

  • (c)  Have a ceiling height and heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems comparable to operating classrooms in the school.
    Source: Louisiana State Legislature


Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:416.21 Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and phyiscal restraint

C. (1) Physical restraint shall be used only:

  • (a)  When a student’s behavior presents a threat of imminent risk of harm to self or others and only as a last resort to protect the safety of self and others.

  • (b)  To the degree necessary to stop dangerous behavior.

  • (c)  In a manner that causes no physical injury to the student, results in the least possible discomfort, and does not interfere in any way with a student’s breathing or ability to communicate with others.

(2)  No student shall be subjected to any form of mechanical restraint.

(3)  No student shall be physically restrained in a manner that places excessive pressure on the student’s chest or back or that causes asphyxia.

(4)  A student shall be physically restrained only in a manner that is directly proportionate to the circumstances and to the student’s size, age, and severity of behavior.

D.  Seclusion and physical restraint shall not be used as a form of discipline or punishment, as a threat to control, bully, or obtain behavioral compliance, or for the convenience of school personnel.

E.  No student shall be subjected to unreasonable, unsafe, or unwarranted use of seclusion or physical restraint.

F.  A student shall not be placed in seclusion or physically restrained if he or she is known to have any medical or psychological condition that precludes such action, as certified by a licensed health care provider in a written statement provided to the school in which the student is enrolled.

G.  A student who has been placed in seclusion or has been physically restrained shall be monitored continuously. Such monitoring shall be documented at least every fifteen minutes and adjustments made accordingly, based upon observations of the student’s behavior.

H.  A student shall be removed from seclusion or released from physical restraint as soon as the reasons for justifying such action have subsided.
Source: Louisiana State Legislature


Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:416.21 Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and physical restraint

I. (1) The parent or other legal guardian of a student who has been placed in seclusion or physically restrained shall be notified as soon as possible. The student’s parent or other legal guardian shall also be notified in writing, within twenty-four hours, of each incident of seclusion or physical restraint. Such notice shall include the reason for such seclusion or physical restraint, the procedures used, the length of time of the student’s seclusion or physical restraint, and the names and titles of any school employee involved.

  • (2) The director or supervisor of special education shall be notified any time a student is placed in seclusion or is physically restrained.

J.  A school employee who has placed a student in seclusion or who has physically restrained a student shall document and report each incident in accordance with the policies adopted by the school’s governing authority. Such report shall be submitted to the school principal not later than the school day immediately following the day on which the student was placed in seclusion or physically restrained and a copy shall be provided to the student’s parent or legal guardian.
Source: Louisiana State Legislature

K.  If a student is involved in five incidents in a single school year involving the use of physical restraint or seclusion, the student’s Individualized Education Program team shall review and revise the student’s behavior intervention plan to include any appropriate and necessary behavioral supports. Thereafter, if the student’s challenging behavior continues or escalates requiring repeated use of seclusion or physical restraint practices, the special education director or his designee shall review the student’s plans at least once every three weeks.

L.  The documentation compiled for a student who has been placed in seclusion or has been physically restrained and whose challenging behavior continues or escalates shall be reviewed at least once every three weeks.


Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:416.21 Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and phyiscal restraint

M.(1) The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall adopt written guidelines and procedures regarding:

  • (a)  Reporting requirements and follow-up procedures.

  • (b)  Notification requirements for school officials and a student’s parent or other legal guardian.

  • (c)  An explanation of the methods of physical restraint and the school employee training requirements relative to the use of restraint.

(2)(a)  These guidelines and procedures shall be provided to the state Department of Education, all school employees and every parent of a student with an exceptionality. The guidelines and procedures shall also be posted at each school and on each school system’s website.

  • (b) The provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph shall not be applicable to the parent of a student who has been deemed to be gifted or talented unless the student has been identified as also having a disability.

Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:416.21 Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and phyiscal restraint

N.(1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall adopt rules establishing guidelines and procedures for public school systems to follow regarding the reporting of incidents of seclusion and physical restraint, including specific data elements to be included in such reporting.

  • (2) The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school, in accordance with state board policy, shall report all instances where seclusion or physical restraint is used to address student behavior to the state Department of Education.

  • (3)(a) The state Department of Education shall maintain a database of all reported incidents of seclusion and physical restraint of students with exceptionalities and shall disaggregate the data for analysis by school; student age, race, ethnicity, and gender; student disability, where applicable; and any involved school employees.

    • (b)(i)  Based upon the data collected, the state Department of Education shall annually compile a comprehensive report regarding the use of seclusion and physical restraint of students with exceptionalities, which shall at a minimum include the following:
      • (aa)  The number of incidents of physical restraint disaggregated by school system; student age, race, ethnicity, gender, and student disability classification.
      • (bb)  The number of incidents of seclusion disaggregated by school system; student age, race, ethnicity, gender, and student disability classification.
      • (cc)  A list of the school systems and charter schools that have complied with the reporting requirements pursuant to Paragraph (2) of this Subsection.
      • (ii)  The state Department of Education shall post the annual report on its website and submit a written copy to the Senate and House committees on education and the Advisory Council on Student Behavior and Discipline established pursuant to R.S. 17:253.

Louisiana Administrative Code 28 XLIII 542 Physical Restraint

A. Physical restraint shall be used only:

    1. when a student's behavior presents a threat of imminent risk of harm to self or others and only as a last resort to protect the safety of self and others;
    1. to the degree necessary to stop dangerous behavior; and
    1. in a manner that causes no physical injury to the student, results in the least possible discomfort, and does not interfere in any way with a student's breathing or ability to communicate with others.

B. No student shall be subjected to any form of mechanical restraint.

C. No student shall be physically restrained in a manner that places excessive pressure on the student's chest or back or that causes asphyxia.

D. A student shall be physically restrained only in a manner that is directly proportionate to the circumstances and to the student's size, age, and severity of behavior.


Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:7 Duties, functions, and responsibilities of board

(5)(b)(i) Prepare and adopt rules and guidelines for the appropriate use of seclusion, physical restraint, and mechanical restraint of students with exceptionalities as defined in R.S. 17:1942, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.


Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:3911 Data collection system; establishment

(4)(a) The department shall annually collect the following data elements for students with an exceptionality by each disability classification, including breakouts of each speech or language impairment category and breakouts of each intellectual disability category, not including students identified exclusively as gifted and talented, for each city, parish, or other local public school board. The following data elements shall be reported for each disability classification in total as well as by unduplicated counts by race, gender, age and sex:

* (i)  Setting. 

* (ii)  Exit code. 

* (iii)  Participation in each assessment type by grade and subject. 

* (iv)  Scoring at the proficient level on each test administered pursuant to the school and district accountability program by grade and subject.  
* (v)  Eligibility for an extended school year program.

* (vi)  Attending extended school year program. 

* (vii)  Receiving initial evaluations, re-evaluations and waivers from evaluations.  
  • (b) The data collection system shall also include information on student discipline for each public school by percentage and unduplicated counts of total students with exceptionalities receiving discipline, including:

    • (i) In-school suspensions, broken down by categories of ten days or less and more than ten days.

    • (ii) Out-of-school suspensions, broken down by categories of ten days or less and more than ten days.

    • (iii) In-school expulsions, broken down by categories of ten days or less and more than ten days.

    • (iv) Out-of-school suspensions, broken down by categories of ten days or less and more than ten days.

    • (v) Restraint procedures.

    • (vi) Seclusion procedures.

    • (vii) Unilateral removals to an interim alternative educational setting by school personnel by disability classification and by reason for removal.

  • (c) The data collect system shall also include:

    • (i) Percentage and unduplicated count of special education teachers by qualification level for each city, parish, or other local public school system.
    • (ii) Data and information regarding city, parish, or other local public school board high cost assistance requests and awards including but not limited to the unduplicated count of students included in the request, the total amount requested, and the amount awarded.
  • (d) The department shall annually compile a report that includes data on each element gathered from the latest collection cycle and trend data from the three prior years. The report shall be sent to each public school governing authority and published on the department’s website.

  • (e) The requirements of this Paragraph shall not be construed to violate the provisions of R.S. 17:3914.

  • (f) For any fiscal year in which the department fails to collect and report the required data, the state treasurer shall withhold an amount equal to twenty- five percent of the state general funds appropriated to the state Department of Education through the general appropriations bill for “STATE ACTIVITIES” which are allocated for travel expenses, until such time as the department complies with the provisions of this Paragraph.


Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:252 School master plans for supporting student behavior and discipline.

A. (1)  The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the Louisiana Juvenile Justice Planning and Coordination Board, shall formulate, develop, and recommend to the Juvenile Justice Reform Act Implementation Commission by March 1, 2004, a model master plan for improving behavior and discipline within schools.

  • (2)  The model master plan may include but need not be limited to guidelines for accomplishing the following:
    • (a)  Improving communication, coordination, and collaboration between the schools and juvenile justice agencies.
    • (b)  Improving safe school planning.
    • (c)  Revising school zero tolerance policies to ensure compliance with all applicable provisions of law to ensure that schools do not make inappropriate referrals to juvenile justice agencies.
    • (d)  Providing improved mental health services in or through the schools.
    • (e)  Providing better assistance to parents in knowing about and accessing family strengthening programs.
    • (f)  Improving the coordination of special education and juvenile justice services.
    • (g)  Improving classroom management using positive behavioral supports and other effective disciplinary tools.
    • (h)  Improving methods and procedures for the handling of school suspensions, the referral of students to alternative schools, and the use of seclusion and physical restraint in addressing challenging student behavior.
    • (i)  Providing for better and more useful reporting on an annual basis of school behavioral and disciplinary problems.

B.  Each city, parish, and other local public school board shall cause to be developed and shall submit by October 1, 2004, a master plan for each school under the board’s jurisdiction for improving behavior and discipline in each such school based on the model master plan developed and approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

C.  The model master plan for improving behavior and discipline within the schools and the school master plans required of city, parish, and other local public school boards by this Section shall not prohibit a teacher from removing a pupil from the classroom for disciplinary reasons in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 17:416.

D. (1)  The school master plans required of city, parish, and other local public school boards by this Section shall make provision for pre-service and ongoing grade appropriate classroom management training for teachers, principals, and other appropriate school personnel regarding positive behavioral supports and reinforcement, conflict resolution, mediation, cultural competence, restorative practices, guidance and discipline, and adolescent development.

  • (2)  City, parish, and other local public school boards shall provide ongoing classroom management courses and regularly review discipline data from each school to determine what additional classroom management training is needed, if any, and what additional classroom support activities should be provided by the principal and school administration.

Louisiana Administrative Code 28 XLIII 543 Restrictions on the Use of Seclusion or Physical Restraint

A. Seclusion and physical restraint shall not be used as a form of discipline or punishment, as a threat to control, bully, or obtain behavioral compliance, or for the convenience of school personnel.

B. No student shall be subjected to unreasonable, unsafe, or unwarranted use of seclusion or physical restraint.

C. A student shall not be placed in seclusion or physically restrained if he or she is known to have any medical or psychological condition that precludes such action, as certified by a licensed health care provider in a written statement provided to the school in which the student is enrolled.

D. A student who has been placed in seclusion or has been physically restrained shall be monitored continuously. Such monitoring shall be documented at least every 15 minutes and adjustments made accordingly, based upon observations of the student's behavior.

E. A student shall be removed from seclusion or released from physical restraint as soon as the reasons for justifying such action have subsided.

F. The parent or other legal guardian of a student who has been placed in seclusion or physically restrained shall be notified as soon as possible. The school shall document all efforts, including conversations, phone calls, electronic communications, and home visits, to notify the parent of a student who has been placed in seclusion or physically restrained.

    1. The student's parent or other legal guardian shall also be notified in writing, within 24 hours, of each incident of seclusion or physical restraint. Such notice shall include the reason for such seclusion or physical restraint, the procedures used, the length of time of the student's seclusion or physical restraint, and the names and titles of any school employee involved.

G. The director or supervisor of special education shall be notified any time a student is placed in seclusion or is physically restrained.

H. A school employee who has placed a student in seclusion or who has physically restrained a student shall document and report each incident in accordance with the policies adopted by the school's governing authority. Such report shall be submitted to the school principal not later than the school day immediately following the day on which the student was placed in seclusion or physically restrained and a copy shall be provided to the student's parent or legal guardian.

I. If a student is involved in five incidents in a single school year involving the use of physical restraint or seclusion, the student's individualized education plan team shall review and revise the student's behavior intervention plan to include any appropriate and necessary behavioral supports. Thereafter, if the student's challenging behavior continues or escalates requiring repeated use of seclusion or physical restraint practices, the special education director or his designee shall review the student's plans at least once every three weeks.

J. The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall adopt written guidelines and procedures regarding:

    1. reporting requirements and follow-up procedures;
    1. notification requirements for school officials and a student’s parent or other legal guardian; and
    1. an explanation of the methods of physical restraint and the school employee training requirements relative to the use of restraint.

K. The guidelines and procedures shall be provided to the LDE, all school employees and every parent of a child with a disability. The guidelines and procedures shall also be posted at each school and on each school system's website.

L. The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall report all instances where seclusion or physical restraint is used to address student behavior to the state Department of Education through the special education reporting (SER) system. At a minimum, all instances must be reported on a monthly basis.

M. The state Department of Education, using the data elements collected in SER, shall maintain a database of all reported incidents of seclusion and physical restraint of students with disabilities and shall disaggregated the data for analysis by school, student age, race, ethnicity, and gender, student disability, where applicable, and any involved school employees.

N. Based upon the data collected, the LDE shall annually compile a comprehensive report regarding the use of seclusion and physical restraint of students with exceptionalities, which shall at a minimum include the following:

    1. The number of incidents of physical restraint disaggregated by school system; student age, race, ethnicity, gender, and student disability classification.
    1. The number of incidents of seclusion disaggregated by school system; student age, race, ethnicity, gender, and student disability classification.
    1. A list of the school systems and charter schools that have complied with the reporting requirements pursuant to Paragraph 2 of this Subsection.

O. The state Department of Education shall post the annual report pursuant to Subsection O of this Section on its website and submit a written copy to the Senate and House Committees on Education and the Advisory Council on Student Behavior and Discipline established pursuant to R.S. 17:253.

Louisiana Administrative Code 28 XLIII 541 Use of Seclusion

A. Seclusion shall be used only:

    1. for behaviors that involve an imminent risk of harm;
    1. as a last resort when de-escalation attempts have failed and the student continues to pose an imminent threat to self or others.

B. Seclusion shall not be used to address behaviors such as general noncompliance, self-stimulation, and academic refusal. Such behaviors shall be responded to with less stringent and less restrictive techniques.

C. A seclusion room shall be used only as a last resort and when less restrictive measures, such as positive behavioral supports, constructive and non-physical de-escalation, and restructuring of a student's environment, have failed to stop a student's actions that pose an imminent risk of harm.

D. A student shall be placed in a seclusion room only by a school employee who uses accepted methods of escorting a student to a seclusion room, placing a student in a seclusion room, and supervising a student while he or she is in the seclusion room.

E. Only one student may be placed in a seclusion room at any given time, and the school employee supervising the student must be able to see and hear the student the entire time the student is placed in the seclusion room.

F. A seclusion room shall:

    1. be free of any object that poses a danger to the student placed in the room;
    1. have an observation window and be of a size that is appropriate for the student's size, behavior, and chronological and developmental age; and
    1. have a ceiling height and heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems comparable to operating classrooms in the school.
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