Outline of the state of Montana
Limits use with some protections

Restraint and Seclusion

Restraint and Seclusion

State law requires districts to adopt policies that limit use of restraint and seclusion without addressing comprehensive student protections.

Administrative Rules of Montana 10.16.3346 Aversive treatment procedures

(1) Positive behavioral interventions based on the results of a functional behavioral assessment shall serve as the foundation for any program utilizing aversive procedures to address the behavioral needs of students. Aversive treatment procedures may be appropriate for an individual student who exhibits behaviors which pose a risk of physical harm to the student or others, or a risk of significant damage to property, or significantly disruptive or dangerous behaviors which cannot be modified solely through the use of positive behavioral interventions. Aversive treatment procedures must be designed to address the behavioral needs of an individual student, be approved by the IEP team, and may not be used as punishment, for the convenience of staff, or as a substitute for positive behavioral interventions.

(2) Aversive treatment procedures are defined as:

  • (a) physical restraint, other than as provided in 20-4-302, MCA, when the IEP team has determined that the frequency, intensity or duration of the restraint warrants an aversive treatment procedure; and
  • (b) isolation time-out which results in the removal of a student to an isolation room under the following conditions:
  • (i) the student is alone in the isolation room during the period of isolation;
  • (ii) the student is prevented from exiting the isolation room during the period of isolation;
  • (iii) the door to the isolation room remains closed during the period of isolation; and
  • (iv) the student is prohibited from participating in activities occurring outside the isolation room and from interacting with other students during the period of isolation.

(3) Any student in isolation timeout must be under the direct constant visual observation of a designated staff person throughout the entire period of isolation.

(4) The following procedures are prohibited:

  • (a) any procedure solely intended to cause physical pain;
  • (b) isolation in a locked room or mechanical restraint, except in residential treatment facilities and psychiatric hospitals as defined in 20-7-436, MCA, when prescribed by a physician as part of a treatment plan and when implemented in compliance with relevant federal and state law;
  • (c) the withholding of a meal for a period of greater than one hour from its scheduled starting time;
  • (d) aversive mists, noxious odors, and unpleasant tastes applied by spray or other means to cause an aversive physical sensation; and
  • (e) mechanical restraint that physically restricts a student's movement through the use upon the student of any mechanical or restrictive device which is not intended for medical reasons.

(5) Exclusion time-out is not considered an aversive treatment procedure. Exclusion time-out is defined as any removal of a student from a regularly scheduled activity for disciplinary purposes that does not result in placing the student in an isolation room under all of the conditions described in (2)(b).

(6) IEPs may include the use of aversive treatment procedures only when:

  • (a) subsequent to a functional behavioral assessment, a series of no less than two written positive behavioral intervention strategies, which were designed to target the behavior to be changed, were previously implemented;
Policy Type

Montana Code Annotated 20.4.302. Discipline and punishment of pupils -- definition of corporal punishment -- penalty -- defense.


  • (a)  A person who is employed or engaged by a school district may use physical restraint, defined as the placing of hands on a pupil in a manner that is reasonable and necessary to:

  • (i)  quell a disturbance;

  • (ii)  provide self-protection;

  • (iii)  protect the pupil or others from physical injury;

  • (iv)  obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous object on the person of the pupil or within control of the pupil;

  • (v)  maintain the orderly conduct of a pupil including but not limited to relocating a pupil in a waiting line, classroom, lunchroom, principal’s office, or other on-campus facility; or

  • (vi)  protect property from serious harm.

Policy Type