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.
The Pennsylvania Code § 14.133. Positive behavior support.
(a) Positive, rather than negative, measures must form the basis of behavior support programs to ensure that all students and eligible young children shall be free from demeaning treatment, the use of aversive techniques and the unreasonable use of restraints. Behavior support programs must include research based practices and techniques to develop and maintain skills that will enhance an individual student's or eligible young child's opportunity for learning and self-fulfillment. Behavior support programs and plans must be based on a functional assessment of behavior and utilize positive behavior techniques. When an intervention is needed to address problem behavior, the types of intervention chosen for a particular student or eligible young child shall be the least intrusive necessary. The use of restraints is considered a measure of last resort, only to be used after other less restrictive measures, including de-escalation techniques, in accord with subsection (c)(2). (b) Notwithstanding the requirements incorporated by reference in 34 CFR 300.34, 300.324 and 300.530 (relating to related services; development, review, and revision of IEP; and authority of school personnel), with regard to a child's behavior, the following words and terms, when used in this section, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: Aversive techniques -- Deliberate activities designed to establish a negative association with a specific behavior. Behavior support -- The development, change and maintenance of selected behaviors through the systematic application of behavior change techniques. Positive behavior support plans -- A plan for students with disabilities and eligible young children who require specific intervention to address behavior that interferes with learning. A positive behavior support plan shall be developed by the IEP team, be based on a functional behavior assessment, and become part of the individual eligible young child's or student's IEP. These plans must include methods that utilize positive reinforcement and other positive techniques to shape a student's or eligible young child's behavior, ranging from the use of positive verbal statements as a reward for good behavior to specific tangible rewards. (b) Notwithstanding the requirements incorporated by reference in 34 CFR 300.34, 300.324 and 300.530 (relating to related services; development, review, and revision of IEP; and authority of school personnel), with regard to a child’s behavior, the following words and terms, when used in this section, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: ...Restraints- (i) The application of physical force, with or without the use of any device, for the purpose of restraining the free movement of a student's or eligible young child's body. (ii) The term does not include briefly holding, without force, a student or eligible young child to calm or comfort him, guiding a student or eligible young child to an appropriate activity, or holding a student's or eligible young child's hand to safely escort her from one area to another. (iii) The term does not include hand-over-hand assistance with feeding or task completion and techniques prescribed by a qualified medical professional for reasons of safety or for therapeutic or medical treatment, as agreed to by the student's or eligible young child's parents and specified in the IEP. Devices used for physical or occupational therapy, seatbelts in wheelchairs or on toilets used for balance and safety, safety harnesses in buses, and functional positioning devices are examples of mechanical restraints which are excluded from this definition, and governed by subsection (d). (c) Restraints to control acute or episodic aggressive or self-injurious behavior may be used only when the student is acting in a manner as to be a clear and present danger to himself, to other students or to employees, and only when less restrictive measures and techniques have proven to be or are less effective. (1) The use of restraints to control the aggressive behavior of an individual student or eligible young child shall cause the school entity to notify the parent of the use of restraint and shall cause a meeting of the IEP team within 10 school days of the inappropriate behavior causing the use of restraints, unless the parent, after written notice, agrees in writing to waive the meeting. At this meeting, the IEP team shall consider whether the student or eligible young child needs a functional behavioral assessment, reevaluation, a new or revised positive behavior support plan, or a change of placement to address the inappropriate behavior. (2) The use of restraints may only be included in a student's or eligible young child's IEP when the following conditions apply: (i) The restraint is utilized with specific component elements of positive behavior support. (ii) The restraint is used in conjunction with the teaching of socially acceptable alternative skills to replace problem behavior. (iii) Staff are authorized to use the procedure and have received the staff training required. (iv) There is a plan in place for eliminating the use of restraint through the application of positive behavior support. (3) The use of prone restraints is prohibited in educational programs. Prone restraints are those in which a student or eligible young child is held face down on the floor. (4) The use of restraints may not be included in the IEP for the convenience of staff, as a substitute for an educational program, or employed as punishment. (c) (5) School entities shall maintain and report data on the use of restraints as prescribed by the Secretary. The report shall be reviewed during cyclical compliance monitoring conducted by the Department. (d) Mechanical restraints, which are used to control involuntary movement or lack of muscular control of students when due to organic causes or conditions, may be employed only when specified by an IEP and as determined by a medical professional qualified to make the determination, and as agreed to by the student's parents. Mechanical restraints shall prevent a student from injuring himself or others or promote normative body positioning and physical functioning. (e) The following aversive techniques of handling behavior are considered inappropriate and may not be used by agencies in educational programs: (1) Corporal punishment. (2) Punishment for a manifestation of a student's disability. (3) Locked rooms, locked boxes or other structures or spaces from which the student cannot readily exit. (4) Noxious substances. (5) Deprivation of basic human rights, such as withholding meals, water or fresh air. (6) Suspensions constituting a pattern under § 14.143(a) (relating to disciplinary placement). (7) Treatment of a demeaning nature. (8) Electric shock. (f) School entities have the primary responsibility for ensuring that positive behavior support programs are in accordance with this chapter, including the training of personnel for the use of specific procedures, methods and techniques, and for having a written policy and procedures on the use of positive behavior support techniques and obtaining parental consent prior to the use of restraints or intrusive procedures as provided in subsection (c). (g) In accordance with their plans, agencies may convene a review, including the use of human rights committees, to oversee the use of restrictive or intrusive procedures or restraints. (h) Subsequent to a referral to law enforcement, for students with disabilities who have positive behavior support plans, an updated functional behavior assessment and positive behavior support plan shall be required.
Use of Restraints for Students with Disabilities
The purpose of this Basic Educational Circular (BEC) is to provide guidance regarding the definition and use of restraints as outlined in the Pennsylvania special education regulations, Chapters 14 and 711. In addition to the definition of restraints, this BEC will address the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and reporting requirements related to the use of restraints.