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.
Minnesota Statutes 121A.582 Student discipline; reasonable force
Subdivision 1. Reasonable force standard. (a) A teacher or school principal, in exercising the person’s lawful authority, may use reasonable force when it is necessary under the circumstances to correct or restrain a student or prevent bodily harm or death to another. (b) A school employee, school bus driver, or other agent of a district, in exercising the person’s lawful authority, may use reasonable force when it is necessary under the circumstances to restrain a student or prevent bodily harm or death to another. (c) Paragraphs (a) and (b) do not authorize conduct prohibited under section 125A.0942.
Subd. 2. Civil liability. (a) A teacher or school principal who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (a), has a defense against a civil action for damages under section 123B.25. (b) A school employee, bus driver, or other agent of a district who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), has a defense against a civil action for damages under section 123B.25.
Subd. 3. Criminal prosecution. (a) A teacher or school principal who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (a), has a defense against a criminal prosecution under section 609.06, subdivision 1. (b) A school employee, bus driver, or other agent of a district who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), has a defense against a criminal prosecution under section 609.06, subdivision 1.
Subd. 4. Supplementary rights and defenses. Any right or defense in this section is supplementary to those specified in section 121A.58, 121A.67, 123B.25, or 609.06, subdivision 1.
Minnesota Statutes 121A.67 Removal by peace officer
Subdivision 1. Rules. The commissioner, after consultation with interested parent organizations and advocacy groups, the Minnesota Administrators for Special Education, the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, Education Minnesota, the Minnesota School Boards Association, the Minnesota Police Officers Association, a representative of a bargaining unit that represents paraprofessionals, the Elementary School Principals Association, and the Secondary School Principals Association, must amend rules governing the use of aversive and deprivation procedures by school district employees or persons under contract with a school district. The rules must: (1) promote the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports and must not encourage or require the use of aversive or deprivation procedures; (2) require that planned application of aversive and deprivation procedures only be instituted after completing a functional behavior assessment and developing a behavior intervention plan that is included in or maintained with the individual education plan; (3) require educational personnel to notify a parent or guardian of a pupil with an individual education plan on the same day aversive or deprivation procedures are used in an emergency or in writing within two school days if district personnel are unable to provide same-day notice; (4) establish health and safety Standard for the use of locked time-out procedures that require a safe environment, continuous monitoring of the child, ventilation, adequate space, a locking mechanism that disengages automatically when not continuously engaged by school personnel, and full compliance with state and local fire and building codes, including state rules on time-out rooms; (5) contain a list of prohibited procedures; (6) consolidate and clarify provisions related to behavior intervention plans; (7) require school districts to register with the commissioner any room used for locked time-out, which the commissioner must monitor by making announced and unannounced on-site visits; (8) place a student in locked time-out only if the intervention is:
- (i) part of the comprehensive behavior intervention plan that is included in or maintained with the student’s individual education plan, and the plan uses positive behavioral interventions and supports, and data support its continued use; or
- (ii) used in an emergency for the duration of the emergency only; and (9) require a providing school district or cooperative to establish an oversight committee composed of at least one member with training in behavioral analysis and other appropriate education personnel to annually review aggregate data regarding the use of aversive and deprivation procedures.
[Repealed 2009 c 96 art 3 s 22].
Minnesota Statutes 122A.09 Duties.
Subd. 4. License and rules. (n) The board must adopt rules that require all licensed teachers who are renewing their professional five-year teaching licenses to include in their renewal requirements at least one hour of suicide prevention best practices in each licensure renewal period that are based on nationally recognized evidence-based programs and practices, among the continuing education credits required to renew a license under this paragraph, and further preparation, first, in understanding the key warning signs of early-onset mental illness in children and adolescents and then, during subsequent licensure renewal periods, preparation may include providing a more in-depth understanding of students' mental illness trauma, accommodations for students' mental illness, parents' role in addressing students' mental illness, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, autism, the requirements of section 125A.0942 governing restrictive procedures, and de-escalation methods, among other similar topics.
Minnesota Statutes 125A.0941 Definitions
(a) The following terms have the meanings given them. (b) “Emergency” means a situation where immediate intervention is needed to protect a child or other individual from physical injury. Emergency does not mean circumstances such as: a child who does not respond to a task or request and instead places his or her head on a desk or hides under a desk or table; a child who does not respond to a staff person’s request unless failing to respond would result in physical injury to the child or other individual; or an emergency incident has already occurred and no threat of physical injury currently exists. (c) “Physical holding” means physical intervention intended to hold a child immobile or limit a child’s movement, where body contact is the only source of physical restraint, and where immobilization is used to effectively gain control of a child in order to protect a child or other individual from physical injury. The term physical holding does not mean physical contact that:
- (1) helps a child respond or complete a task;
- (2) assists a child without restricting the child’s movement;
- (3) is needed to administer an authorized health-related service or procedure; or
- (4) is needed to physically escort a child when the child does not resist or the child’s resistance is minimal. (d) “Positive behavioral interventions and supports” means interventions and strategies to improve the school environment and teach children the skills to behave appropriately, including the key components under section 122A.627. (e) “Prone restraint” means placing a child in a face down position. (f) “Restrictive procedures” means the use of physical holding or seclusion in an emergency. Restrictive procedures must not be used to punish or otherwise discipline a child. (g) “Seclusion” means confining a child alone in a room from which egress is barred. Egress may be barred by an adult locking or closing the door in the room or preventing the child from leaving the room. Removing a child from an activity to a location where the child cannot participate in or observe the activity is not seclusion.
Minnesota Statutes 125A.0942 Standard for Restrictive Procedures
Subdivision 1. Restrictive procedures plan. (a) Schools that intend to use restrictive procedures shall maintain and make publicly accessible in an electronic format on a school or district Web site or make a paper copy available upon request describing a restrictive procedures plan for children with disabilities that at least:
(1) lists the restrictive procedures the school intends to use;
(2) describes how the school will implement a range of positive behavior strategies and provide links to mental health services;
(3) describes how the school will provide training on de-escalation techniques, consistent with section 122A.187, subdivision 4;
(4) describes how the school will monitor and review the use of restrictive procedures, including:
(i) conducting post-use debriefings, consistent with subdivision 3, paragraph (a), clause (5); and
(ii) convening an oversight committee to undertake a quarterly review of the use of restrictive procedures based on patterns or problems indicated by similarities in the time of day, day of the week, duration of the use of a procedure, the individuals involved, or other factors associated with the use of restrictive procedures; the number of times a restrictive procedure is used schoolwide and for individual children; the number and types of injuries, if any, resulting from the use of restrictive procedures; whether restrictive procedures are used in nonemergency situations; the need for additional staff training; and proposed actions to minimize the use of restrictive procedures; and
(5) includes a written description and documentation of the training staff completed under subdivision 5.
(b) Schools annually must publicly identify oversight committee members who must at least include:
(1) a mental health professional, school psychologist, or school social worker;
(2) an expert in positive behavior strategies;
(3) a special education administrator; and
(4) a general education administrator.
Subd. 2. Restrictive procedures. (a) Restrictive procedures may be used only by a licensed special education teacher, school social worker, school psychologist, behavior analyst certified by the National Behavior Analyst Certification Board, a person with a master’s degree in behavior analysis, other licensed education professional, paraprofessional under section 120B.363, or mental health professional under section 245.4871, subdivision 27, who has completed the training program under subdivision 5.
(b) A school shall make reasonable efforts to notify the parent on the same day a restrictive procedure is used on the child, or if the school is unable to provide same-day notice, notice is sent within two days by written or electronic means or as otherwise indicated by the child’s parent under paragraph (f).
(c) The district must hold a meeting of the individualized education program team, conduct or review a functional behavioral analysis, review data, consider developing additional or revised positive behavioral interventions and supports, consider actions to reduce the use of restrictive procedures, and modify the individualized education program or behavior intervention plan as appropriate. The district must hold the meeting: within ten calendar days after district staff use restrictive procedures on two separate school days within 30 calendar days or a pattern of use emerges and the child’s individualized education program or behavior intervention plan does not provide for using restrictive procedures in an emergency; or at the request of a parent or the district after restrictive procedures are used. The district must review use of restrictive procedures at a child’s annual individualized education program meeting when the child’s individualized education program provides for using restrictive procedures in an emergency.
(d) If the individualized education program team under paragraph (c) determines that existing interventions and supports are ineffective in reducing the use of restrictive procedures or the district uses restrictive procedures on a child on ten or more school days during the same school year, the team, as appropriate, either must consult with other professionals working with the child; consult with experts in behavior analysis, mental health, communication, or autism; consult with culturally competent professionals; review existing evaluations, resources, and successful strategies; or consider whether to reevaluate the child.
(e) At the individualized education program meeting under paragraph (c), the team must review any known medical or psychological limitations, including any medical information the parent provides voluntarily, that contraindicate the use of a restrictive procedure, consider whether to prohibit that restrictive procedure, and document any prohibition in the individualized education program or behavior intervention plan.
(f) An individualized education program team may plan for using restrictive procedures and may include these procedures in a child’s individualized education program or behavior intervention plan; however, the restrictive procedures may be used only in response to behavior that constitutes an emergency, consistent with this section. The individualized education program or behavior intervention plan shall indicate how the parent wants to be notified when a restrictive procedure is used.
Subd. 3. Physical holding or seclusion. (a) Physical holding or seclusion may be used only in an emergency. A school that uses physical holding or seclusion shall meet the following requirements:
(1) physical holding or seclusion is the least intrusive intervention that effectively responds to the emergency;
(2) physical holding or seclusion is not used to discipline a noncompliant child;
(3) physical holding or seclusion ends when the threat of harm ends and the staff determines the child can safely return to the classroom or activity;
(4) staff directly observes the child while physical holding or seclusion is being used;
(5) each time physical holding or seclusion is used, the staff person who implements or oversees the physical holding or seclusion documents, as soon as possible after the incident concludes, the following information:
(i) a description of the incident that led to the physical holding or seclusion;
(ii) why a less restrictive measure failed or was determined by staff to be inappropriate or impractical;
(iii) the time the physical holding or seclusion began and the time the child was released; and
(iv) a brief record of the child’s behavioral and physical status;
(6) the room used for seclusion must:
(i) be at least six feet by five feet;
(ii) be well lit, well ventilated, adequately heated, and clean;
(iii) have a window that allows staff to directly observe a child in seclusion;
(iv) have tamperproof fixtures, electrical switches located immediately outside the door, and secure ceilings;
(v) have doors that open out and are unlocked, locked with keyless locks that have immediate release mechanisms, or locked with locks that have immediate release mechanisms connected with a fire and emergency system; and
(vi) not contain objects that a child may use to injure the child or others;
(7) before using a room for seclusion, a school must:
(i) receive written notice from local authorities that the room and the locking mechanisms comply with applicable building, fire, and safety codes; and
(ii) register the room with the commissioner, who may view that room; and
(b) By February 1, 2015, and annually thereafter, stakeholders may, as necessary, recommend to the commissioner specific and measurable implementation and outcome goals for reducing the use of restrictive procedures and the commissioner must submit to the legislature a report on districts’ progress in reducing the use of restrictive procedures that recommends how to further reduce these procedures and eliminate the use of prone restraints. The statewide plan includes the following components: measurable goals; the resources, training, technical assistance, mental health services, and collaborative efforts needed to significantly reduce districts’ use of prone restraints; and recommendations to clarify and improve the law governing districts’ use of restrictive procedures. The commissioner must consult with interested stakeholders when preparing the report, including representatives of advocacy organizations, special education directors, teachers, paraprofessionals, intermediate school districts, school boards, day treatment providers, county social services, state human services department staff, mental health professionals, and autism experts. By June 30 each year, districts must report summary data on their use of restrictive procedures to the department, in a form and manner determined by the commissioner. The summary data must include information about the use of restrictive procedures, including use of reasonable force under section 121A.582.
Subd. 4. Prohibitions. — The following actions or procedures are prohibited:
(1) engaging in conduct prohibited under section 121A.58;
(2) requiring a child to assume and maintain a specified physical position, activity, or posture that induces physical pain;
(3) totally or partially restricting a child’s senses as punishment;
(4) presenting an intense sound, light, or other sensory stimuli using smell, taste, substance, or spray as punishment;
(5) denying or restricting a child’s access to equipment and devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and communication boards that facilitate the child’s functioning, except when temporarily removing the equipment or device is needed to prevent injury to the child or others or serious damage to the equipment or device, in which case the equipment or device shall be returned to the child as soon as possible;
(6) interacting with a child in a manner that constitutes sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse under chapter 260E;
(7) withholding regularly scheduled meals or water;
(8) denying access to bathroom facilities;
(9) physical holding that restricts or impairs a child’s ability to breathe, restricts or impairs a child’s ability to communicate distress, places pressure or weight on a child’s head, throat, neck, chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen, or results in straddling a child’s torso; and
(10) prone restraint.
Subd. 5. Training for staff. (a) To meet the requirements of subdivision 1, staff who use restrictive procedures, including paraprofessionals, shall complete training in the following skills and knowledge areas:
(1) positive behavioral interventions;
(2) communicative intent of behaviors;
(3) relationship building;
(4) alternatives to restrictive procedures, including techniques to identify events and environmental factors that may escalate behavior;
(5) de-escalation methods;
(6) standards for using restrictive procedures only in an emergency;
(7) obtaining emergency medical assistance;
(8) the physiological and psychological impact of physical holding and seclusion;
(9) monitoring and responding to a child’s physical signs of distress when physical holding is being used;
(10) recognizing the symptoms of and interventions that may cause positional asphyxia when physical holding is used;
(11) district policies and procedures for timely reporting and documenting each incident involving use of a restricted procedure; and
(12) schoolwide programs on positive behavior strategies.
(b) The commissioner, after consulting with the commissioner of human services, must develop and maintain a list of training programs that satisfy the requirements of paragraph (a). The commissioner also must develop and maintain a list of experts to help individualized education program teams reduce the use of restrictive procedures. The district shall maintain records of staff who have been trained and the organization or professional that conducted the training. The district may collaborate with children’s community mental health providers to coordinate trainings.
Subd. 6. Behavior supports; reasonable force. (a) School districts are encouraged to establish effective schoolwide systems of positive behavior interventions and supports.
(b) Nothing in this section or section 125A.0941 precludes the use of reasonable force under sections 121A.582; 609.06, subdivision 1; and 609.379. For the 2014-2015 school year and later, districts must collect and submit to the commissioner summary data, consistent with subdivision 3, paragraph (b), on district use of reasonable force that is consistent with the definition of physical holding or seclusion for a child with a disability under this section.
Model Restrictive Procedures Plan with Legal Citations and Suggestions
Model policy provides guidance on use of restrictive procedures and/or seclusion.
Physical Holds and Seclusion
Site addresses use of restraint and seclusion.
Site addresses use of restrictive procedures.
Site addresses use of seclusion.
The Use of Prone Restraint in Minnesota Schools: August 2011 through January 2012
Report compiles data on use of prone restraint in Minnesota’s schools to provid Minnesota’s policy-makers with an evidence-based body of information relevant to the continuing discussions on the topic.