Maryland - 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.

2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.04 Use of Exclusion.

A. School personnel may use exclusion to address a student's behavior:

  • (1) If the student's behavior unreasonably interferes with the student's learning or the learning of others;
  • (2) If the student's behavior constitutes an emergency and exclusion is necessary to protect a student or other person from imminent, serious, physical harm after other less intrusive, nonphysical interventions have failed or been determined inappropriate;
  • (3) If exclusion is requested by the student; or
  • (4) If supported by the student's behavior intervention plan.

B. A setting used for exclusion shall:

  • (1) Provide school personnel with the ability to see the student at all times;
  • (2) Provide adequate lighting, ventilation, and furnishings; and
  • (3) Be unlocked and free of barriers to prevent egress.

C. School personnel shall monitor a student placed in exclusion and provide a student in exclusion with:

  • (1) An explanation of the behavior that resulted in the removal; and
  • (2) Instructions on the behavior required to return to the learning environment.

D. School personnel shall ensure that each period of exclusion:

  • (1) Is appropriate to the developmental level of the student and the severity of the behavior; and
  • (2) Does not exceed 30 minutes.

E. Parents and school personnel may at any time request a meeting to address the use of exclusion and to:

  • (1) Conduct a functional behavioral assessment; and
  • (2) Develop, review, or revise a student's behavioral intervention plan.

F. School personnel shall consider the need to initiate a referral to a pupil services or IEP team if a nondisabled student has experienced excessive exclusion, to determine if the student has a disability that may require the provision of special education and related services, in accordance with COMAR 13A.05.01.

G. School personnel shall ensure the implementation of appropriate procedures, in accordance with COMAR 13A.08.03, if a student with a disability has experienced an excessive period of exclusion that may result in a change of placement.


2017 Maryland Code Education 8-405. Meetings to discuss and evaluate educational program; extended year services

Definitions. --

  • (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
  • (2) "Accessible copy" includes a copy of a document provided to an individual in a format as defined in § 8-408 of this subtitle.
  • (3) "Extenuating circumstance" means:
    • (i) A death in the family;
    • (ii) A personal emergency;
    • (iii) A natural disaster; or
    • (iv) Any other similar situation defined by the Department.
  • (4) "Individualized education program" and "individualized family service plan" have the same meaning as provided in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
    General Assembly of Maryland

2017 Maryland Code Education 8-405. Meetings to discuss and evaluate educational program; extended year services

(b) Participation by parents; notice. --

  • (1) When a team of qualified professionals and the parents meet for the purpose of discussing the identification, evaluation, educational program, or the provision of a free appropriate public education of a child with a disability:
    General Assembly of Maryland

    • (i) The parents of the child shall be afforded the opportunity to participate and shall be provided reasonable notice in advance of the meeting; and
    • (ii) Reasonable notice shall be at least 10 calendar days in advance of the meeting, unless an expedited meeting is being conducted to:
        1. Address disciplinary issues;
        1. Determine the placement of the child with a disability not currently receiving educational services; or
        1. Meet other urgent needs of a child with a disability to ensure the provision of a free appropriate public education.
  • (2) (i) 1. At the initial evaluation meeting, the parents of the child shall be provided:

    • A. In plain language, an oral and written explanation of the parents' rights and responsibilities in the individualized education program process and a program procedural safeguards notice; and
    • B. Written information that the parents may use to contact early intervention and special education family support services staff members within the local school system and a brief description of the services provided by the staff members.
        1. If a parent's native language is not English, the information in subsubparagraph 1B of this subparagraph shall be provided to the parent in the parent's native language.
      • (ii) The parents may request the information provided under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph at any subsequent meeting.
      • (iii) If a child who has an individualized education program developed in another school system moves into a different local school system, that local school system shall provide the information required under subparagraph (i)1B of this paragraph at the time of the first written communication with the parents regarding the child's individualized education program or special education services.
      • (iv) A local school system shall publish information that a parent may use to contact early intervention and special education family support services staff members within the local school system and a brief description of the services provided by the staff members in a prominent place on the section of its website relating to special education services.
  • (3) Failure to provide the information required under paragraph (2)(i)1B of this subsection does not constitute grounds for a due process complaint under § 8-413 of this subtitle.

  • (4) (i) If, during an individualized education program team meeting, a parent disagrees with the child's individualized education program or the special education services provided to the child, the individualized education program team shall provide the parent with, in plain language:

    1. An oral and a written explanation of the parent's right to request mediation in accordance with § 8-413 of this subtitle;
      ... --- 2017 Maryland Code Education 8-405. Meetings to discuss and evaluate educational program; extended year services

(i) Regulations. --The Department shall adopt:

  • (1) Regulations that define what information should be provided in the verbal and written explanations of the parents' rights and responsibilities in the individualized education program process; and
  • (2) Any other regulations necessary to carry out subsection (b)(2) of this section. --- 2017 Maryland Code Education 7-1102.1. Annual Reports.

Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, on or before December 1 each year:
(1) Each public agency and nonpublic school shall submit to the Department a report for the prior school year on the number of physical restraint and seclusion incidents, disaggregated by the student's jurisdiction, disability, race, gender, age, and type of placement.

(2) Each public agency and nonpublic school shall submit to the Department a report for the prior school year on the professional development provided to designated school personnel related to positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports and trauma-informed interventions.

(3) Each public agency and nonpublic school shall:

  • (i) Personally observe and review seclusion rooms;
  • (ii) Review training plans for the use of seclusion; and
  • (iii) Report to the Department regarding findings made under items (i) and (ii) of this paragraph.

(4) The Department shall:

  • (i) Provide guidance to public agencies and nonpublic schools regarding the requirements of the use of seclusion and rooms for seclusion; and
  • (ii) Report to the General Assembly, in accordance with § 2-1246 of the State Government Article, regarding findings and recommendations reported to the Department under this section. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.01 Scope.

This chapter applies to student behavior interventions by public agencies and nonpublic schools. --- 2017 Maryland Code Education 7-1104. Consultation concerning training requirements

The State Superintendent shall consult with representatives of institutions of higher education and the Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board under Title 6, Subtitle 7 of this article with respect to the training requirements for teachers and administrators to ensure that sufficient training is available regarding evidence-based positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports consistent with professionally accepted practices and standards for persons entering the field of education. --- 2017 Maryland Code Education 7-1102. Convening of task force [Section subject to repeal and redesignation effective June 30, 2019; redesignated section follows this section].

The task force shall consider:

  • (1) The circumstances under which, and the schools or types of schools in which, restraint and seclusion shall be prohibited;
  • (2) Contraindications for restraint and seclusion and who may authorize restraint and seclusion;
  • (3) Definitions of "positive behavioral supports", "behavior interventions and strategies plan", and "trauma-informed interventions";
  • (4) Training requirements for school staff regarding behavioral interventions, including the need to individualize behavioral interventions based on a student's behavioral, medical, and psychological history and disability characteristics, and trauma-informed interventions;
  • (5) Minimum requirements for policies and procedures to be developed by local school systems, State operated programs, and nonpublic schools; and
  • (6) Standards for monitoring compliance by local school systems, State operated programs, and nonpublic schools with the requirements of this subtitle.

(d)  Duties of task force. -- The task force shall:

  • (1) Review existing regulations relating to seclusion; and
  • (2) On or before October 1, 2017, make recommendations to the State Board and, in accordance with § 2-1246 of the State Government Article, to the General Assembly regarding:
    • (i) Findings and recommendations determined under this section, including consideration of the following factors if the task force determines that there are circumstances under which seclusion may be used:
        1. The types of doors and locking mechanisms that may be used;
        1. The safety of the rooms used for seclusion;
        1. The requirements for observation of the rooms used for seclusion;
        1. The period of time for the use of seclusion; and
        1. The requirements for the discontinuation of seclusion; and
    • (ii) Changes that are needed to update regulations to be consistent with § 7-1103 of this subtitle or any other findings and recommendations.

(e)  Submission of proposed regulations. -- The Department shall submit proposed regulations to the State Board of Education on or before December 1, 2017. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.05 General Requirements for the Use of Restraint or Seclusion.

A. Use of Restraint.

  • (1) Physical Restraint.
    • (a) The use of physical restraint is prohibited in public agencies and nonpublic schools, unless:
      • (i) There is an emergency situation and physical restraint is necessary to protect a student or other person from imminent, serious, physical harm after other less intrusive, nonphysical interventions have failed or been determined inappropriate;
      • (ii) The student's behavioral intervention plan or IEP describes the specific behaviors and circumstances in which physical restraint may be used; or
      • (iii) The parents of a nondisabled student have otherwise provided written consent to the use of physical restraints while a behavior intervention plan is being developed.
    • (b) Physical restraint shall be applied only by school personnel who are trained in the appropriate use of physical restraint consistent with Regulation .06C of this chapter.
    • (c) In applying physical restraint, school personnel shall only use reasonable force as is necessary to protect a student or other person from imminent, serious, physical harm.
    • (d) Physical restraint:
      • (i) Shall be removed as soon as the student is calm; and
      • (ii) May not exceed 30 minutes.
    • (e) In applying physical restraint, school personnel may not:
      • (i) Place a student in a face down position;
      • (ii) Place a student in any other position that will obstruct a student's airway or otherwise impair a student's ability to breathe, obstruct a staff member's view of a student's face, restrict a student's ability to communicate distress, or place pressure on a student's head, neck, or torso; or
      • (iii) Straddle a student's torso.
  • (2) Mechanical Restraint.
    • (a) The use of mechanical restraint is prohibited in public agencies and nonpublic schools unless a public agency or nonpublic school is certified by and meets the requirements of the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
    • (b) Regulation .04 of this chapter does not prohibit school personnel from using a protective or stabilizing device:
      • (i) As prescribed by a health professional; or
      • (ii) For a student with a disability, in accordance with the student's IEP or behavior intervention plan. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.05 General Requirements for the Use of Restraint or Seclusion.

(3) Documentation of the Use of Restraint.

  • (a) Each time a student is in a restraint, school personnel shall document:
    • (i) Other less intrusive interventions that have failed or been determined inappropriate;
    • (ii) The precipitating event immediately preceding the behavior that prompted the use of restraint;
    • (iii) The behavior that prompted the use of a restraint;
    • (iv) The names of the school personnel who observed the behavior that prompted the use of restraint; and
    • (v) The names and signatures of the staff members implementing and monitoring the use of restraint.
  • (b) Documentation under § A(3) of this regulation shall include a description of the restraint event, including:
    • (i) The type of restraint;
    • (ii) The length of time in restraint;
    • (iii) The student's behavior and reaction during the restraint; and
    • (iv) The name and signature of the administrator informed of the use of restraint.

(4) The documentation described in § A(3) of this regulation shall be maintained in the student's educational record and available for inspection by the student's parent or legal guardian in accordance with COMAR 13A.08.02.

(5) Each time restraint is used, parents shall be provided oral or written notification within 24 hours, unless otherwise provided for in a student's behavior intervention plan or IEP. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.05 General Requirements for the Use of Restraint or Seclusion.

B. Use of Seclusion.
(1) The use of seclusion is prohibited in public agencies and nonpublic schools unless:

  • (a) There is an emergency situation and seclusion is necessary to protect a student or another person after other less intrusive interventions have failed or been determined to be inappropriate;
  • (b) The student's IEP or behavioral intervention plan describes the specific behaviors and circumstances in which seclusion may be used; or
  • (c) The parents of a nondisabled student have otherwise provided written consent for the use of seclusion while a behavior intervention plan is being developed.

(2) Seclusion Room.

  • (a) At a minimum, a room used for seclusion shall:
    • (i) Be free of objects and fixtures with which a student could self-inflict bodily harm;
    • (ii) Provide school personnel an adequate view of the student from an adjacent area; and
    • (iii) Provide adequate lighting and ventilation.

(3) School personnel shall:

  • (a) View a student placed in seclusion at all times; and
    • (b) Provide a student placed in seclusion with:
      • (i) An explanation of the behavior that resulted in the removal; and
      • (ii) Instructions on the behavior required to return to the learning environment.

(4) Seclusion shall only be applied by school personnel trained in the appropriate use of seclusion consistent with Regulation .06C of this chapter.

(5) A seclusion event:

  • (a) Shall be appropriate to the student's developmental level and severity of the behavior;
  • (b) May not restrict the student's ability to communicate distress; and
  • (c) May not exceed 30 minutes.

(6) Documentation of Seclusion.

  • (a) Each time a student is placed in seclusion, school personnel shall document:
    • (i) Other less intrusive interventions that have failed or been determined inappropriate;
      • (ii) The precipitating event immediately preceding the behavior that prompted the use of seclusion;
      • (iii) The behavior that prompted the use of seclusion; and
      • (iv) The names and signatures of the staff members implementing and monitoring the seclusion.
  • (b) The documentation under § B(6) of this regulation shall include a description of the seclusion event, including:
    • (i) Justification for initiating the use of seclusion;
    • (ii) The length of time in seclusion;
    • (iii) The student's behavior and reaction during the seclusion; and
    • (iv) The name and signature of the administrator informed of the use of seclusion.

(7) The documentation described in § B(6) of this regulation shall be maintained in the student's educational record and available for inspection by the student's parent or legal guardian in accordance with COMAR 13A.08.02.

(8) Unless otherwise provided for in the student's behavior intervention plan or IEP, each time seclusion is used, school personnel shall provide the student's parent with verbal notification or send written notice within 24 hours. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.05 General Requirements for the Use of Restraint or Seclusion.

(5) The local school system or nonpublic school shall provide the parent of the student with written notice in accordance with COMAR 13A.05.01.12A when an IEP team proposes or refuses to initiate or change the student's IEP or behavior intervention plan that includes the use of restraint or seclusion. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.03 Student Behavior Interventions.

A. General. School personnel are encouraged to use an array of positive behavior interventions, strategies, and supports to increase or decrease targeted student behaviors.

B. School personnel shall only use exclusion, restraint, or seclusion:

  • (1) After less restrictive or alternative approaches have been considered, and:
    • (a) Attempted; or
    • (b) Determined to be inappropriate;
  • (2) In a humane, safe, and effective manner;
  • (3) Without intent to harm or create undue discomfort; and
  • (4) Consistent with known medical or psychological limitations and the student's behavioral intervention plan.

C. This chapter does not prohibit:

  • (1) School personnel from initiating appropriate student disciplinary actions pursuant to Education Article § 7-305, Annotated Code of Maryland, COMAR 13A.08.01.11, and COMAR 13A.08.03; or
  • (2) Law enforcement, judicial authorities, or school security personnel from exercising their responsibilities, including the physical detainment of a student or other person alleged to have committed a crime or posing a security risk in accordance with relevant law, regulation, policy, or procedures. --- 2017 Maryland Code Education 7-1103. Development of policies and procedures

Each public agency and nonpublic school shall develop policies and procedures in compliance with this subtitle and the regulations adopted by the Department. --- 2017 Maryland Code Education 7-1101. Definitions

(a) In general. -- In this subtitle the following terms have the meanings indicated.

(b)  Behavior intervention plan. -- "Behavior intervention plan" means a proactive plan designed to address problem behavior exhibited by a student in the educational setting through the use of positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports.

(c)  Nonpublic school. -- "Nonpublic school" means a school that receives funds from the Department for the purpose of providing special education and related services to students with disabilities.

(d)  Physical restraint. --

  • (1) "Physical restraint" means the use of physical force, without the use of any device or material, to restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a student's body.
  • (2) "Physical restraint" does not include:
    • (i) Briefly holding a student in order to calm or comfort the student;
    • (ii) Holding a student's hand or arm to escort the student safely from one area to another;
    • (iii) Moving a disruptive student who is unwilling to leave the area when other methods such as counseling have been unsuccessful; or
    • (iv) Breaking up a fight in the school building or on school grounds.

(e)  Public agency. -- "Public agency" means the Department, a local school system, the Maryland School for the Deaf, or the Maryland School for the Blind.

(f)  Seclusion. -- "Seclusion" means the confinement of a student alone in a room, an enclosure, or any other space from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.06 Administrative Procedures.

A. Each public agency and nonpublic school shall develop policies and procedures to address:

  • (1) A continuum of positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports for use by school personnel before exclusion, restraint, or seclusion;
  • (2) The prevention of self-injurious behaviors;
  • (3) Methods for identifying and defusing potentially dangerous behavior;
  • (4) The use and documentation of exclusion consistent with Regulation .04 of this chapter;
  • (5) The use of restraint consistent with Regulation .05A of this chapter; and
  • (6) The use of seclusion consistent with Regulation .05B of this chapter.

B. Each public agency and nonpublic school shall annually review policies and procedures and provide them to school personnel and parents as described in COMAR 13A.08.01. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.06 Administrative Procedures.

C. Professional Development.

  • (1) Each public agency and nonpublic school shall provide professional development to designated school personnel on this chapter and the appropriate implementation of policies and procedures developed in accordance with § A of this regulation.
  • (2) At the beginning of each school year, each public agency and nonpublic school shall identify school personnel authorized to serve as a school-wide resource to assist in ensuring proper administration of exclusion, restraint, and seclusion.
  • (3) The school personnel described in § C(2) of this regulation shall receive training in current professionally accepted practices and standards regarding:
    • (a) Positive behavior interventions strategies and supports, including methods for identifying and defusing potentially dangerous behavior;
    • (b) Functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention planning;
    • (c) Exclusion;
    • (d) Restraint and alternatives to restraint;
    • (e) Seclusion; and
    • (f) Symptoms of physical distress and positional asphyxia.
  • (4) The professional development described in § C(3) of this regulation shall include a written examination and physical demonstration of proficiency in the described skills and competencies.

D. Monitoring and Compliance.

  • (1) Each public agency and nonpublic school shall develop policies and procedures on:
    • (a) Monitoring the use of exclusion, restraint, and seclusion; and
    • (b) Receiving and investigating complaints regarding exclusion, restraint, and seclusion practices.
  • (2) The Department may monitor and request any information regarding any matter related to exclusion, restraint, or seclusion implemented by a public agency or nonpublic school. The Department shall provide written notice of the requested information and specify the time and the manner in which the public agency or nonpublic school shall respond to the request. --- 2017 Code of Maryland 13A.08.04.02 Definitions

A. In this chapter, the following terms have the meanings indicated.

B. Terms Defined.

  • (1) "Behavior intervention plan" means a proactive plan designed to address problem behaviors exhibited by a student in the educational setting through the use of positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports.
  • (2) "Business day" has the meaning stated in COMAR 13A.08.03.
  • (2-1) Communicate.
    • (a) "Communicate" means to convey information verbally or nonverbally.
    • (b) "Communicate" includes, but is not limited to:
      • (i) Speech;
      • (ii) Gestures;
      • (iii) Symbols; and
      • (iv) American Sign Language.
  • (3) "Department" means the Maryland State Department of Education.
  • (4) "Exclusion" means the removal of a student to a supervised area for a limited period of time during which the student has an opportunity to regain self-control and is not receiving instruction including special education, related services, or support.
  • (5) Functional Behavior Assessment.
    • (a) "Functional behavior assessment" means the systematic process of gathering information to guide the development of an effective and efficient behavior intervention plan for the problem behavior.
    • (b) "Functional behavior assessment" includes the:
      • (i) Identification of the functions of the problem behavior for the student;
      • (ii) Description of the problem behavior exhibited in the educational setting; and
      • (iii) Identification of environmental and other factors and settings that contribute to or predict the occurrence, nonoccurrence, and maintenance of the behavior over time.
  • (6) "IEP" means an individual education program as defined and developed in accordance with COMAR 13A.05.01.
  • (7) "IEP team" has the meaning stated in COMAR 13A.05.01.
  • (8) Mechanical Restraint.
    • (a) "Mechanical restraint" means any device or material attached or adjacent to the student's body that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to any portion of the student's body and that the student cannot easily remove.
    • (b) "Mechanical restraint" does not include a protective or stabilizing device.
  • (9) "Nonpublic school" means a school that receives funds from the Department for the purpose of providing special education and related services to students with disabilities in accordance with COMAR 13A.09.10.
  • (10) "Parent" has the meaning stated in COMAR 13A.05.01.
  • (11) Physical Restraint.
    • (a) "Physical restraint" means the use of physical force, without the use of any device or material, that restricts the free movement of all or a portion of a student's body.
    • (b) "Physical restraint" does not include:
      • (i) Briefly holding a student to calm or comfort the student;
      • (ii) Holding a student's hand or arm to escort the student safely from one area to another;
      • (iii) Moving a disruptive student who is unwilling to leave the area if other methods such as counseling have been unsuccessful; or
      • (iv) Intervening in a fight in accordance with Education Article § 7-307, Annotated Code of Maryland.
  • (12) "Positive behavior interventions, strategies, and supports" means the school-wide and individual application of data-driven, trauma-informed actions, instruction, and assistance to promote positive social and emotional growth while preventing or reducing challenging behaviors in an effort to encourage educational and social emotional success.
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