Texas - Restraint and Seclusion: Prohibitions or Restrictions

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

Texas Statutes Education Code 37.0021
Use of Confinement, Restraint, Seclusion, and Time-Out.

(a) It is the policy of this state to treat with dignity and respect all students, including students with disabilities who receive special education services under Subchapter A, Chapter 29. A student with a disability who receives special education services under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, may not be confined in a locked box, locked closet, or other specially designed locked space as either a discipline management practice or a behavior management technique.

(b) In this section:

  • (1) “Restraint” means the use of physical force or a mechanical device to significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a student’s body.

  • (2) “Seclusion” means a behavior management technique in which a student is confined in a locked box, locked closet, or locked room that:

    • (A) is designed solely to seclude a person; and
    • (B) contains less than 50 square feet of space.
  • (3) “Time-out” means a behavior management technique in which, to provide a student with an opportunity to regain self-control, the student is separated from other students for a limited period in a setting:

    • (A) that is not locked; and

    • (B) from which the exit is not physically blocked by furniture, a closed door held shut from the outside, or another inanimate object.

  • (4) “Law enforcement duties” means activities of a peace officer relating to the investigation and enforcement of state criminal laws and other duties authorized by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

(c) A school district employee or volunteer or an independent contractor of a district may not place a student in seclusion. This subsection does not apply to the use of seclusion in a court-ordered placement, other than a placement in an educational program of a school district, or in a placement or facility to which the following law, rules, or regulations apply:

  • (1) the Children’s Health Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-310, any subsequent amendments to that Act, any regulations adopted under that Act, or any subsequent amendments to those regulations;

  • (2) 40 T.A.C. Sections 720.1001—720.1013; or

  • (3) 25 T.A.C. Section 412.308(e).

(d) The commissioner by rule shall adopt procedures for the use of restraint and time-out by a school district employee or volunteer or an independent contractor of a district in the case of a student with a disability receiving special education services under Subchapter A, Chapter <a href"http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/GetStatute.aspx?Code=ED&Value=29">29. A procedure adopted under this subsection must:

  • (1) be consistent with:

    • (A) professionally accepted practices and standards of student discipline and techniques for behavior management; and

    • (B) relevant health and safety standards; and

  • (2) identify any discipline management practice or behavior management technique that requires a district employee or volunteer or an independent contractor of a district to be trained before using that practice or technique.

(e) In the case of a conflict between a rule adopted under Subsection (d) and a rule adopted under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, the rule adopted under Subsection (d) controls.


Texas Administrative Regulations 19 38.1053 Procedures for Use of Restraint and Time-Out

(a) Requirement to implement. In addition to the requirements of 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), § 300.324(a)(2)(i), school districts and charter schools must implement the provisions of this section regarding the use of restraint and time-out. In accordance with the provisions of Texas Education Code (TEC), § 37.0021 (Use of Confinement, Restraint, Seclusion, and Time-Out), it is the policy of the state to treat with dignity and respect all students, including students with disabilities who receive special education services under TEC, Chapter 29, Subchapter A.

(b) Definitions.

  • (1) Emergency means a situation in which a student's behavior poses a threat of:

    • (A) imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others; or

    • (B) imminent, serious property destruction.

  • (2) Restraint means the use of physical force or a mechanical device to significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of the student's body.

  • (3) Time-out means a behavior management technique in which, to provide a student with an opportunity to regain self-control, the student is separated from other students for a limited period in a setting:

    • (A) that is not locked; and

    • (B) from which the exit is not physically blocked by furniture, a closed door held shut from the outside, or another inanimate object.

(c) Use of restraint. A school employee, volunteer, or independent contractor may use restraint only in an emergency as defined in subsection (b) of this section and with the following limitations.

  • (1) Restraint must be limited to the use of such reasonable force as is necessary to address the emergency.

  • (2) Restraint must be discontinued at the point at which the emergency no longer exists.

  • (3) Restraint must be implemented in such a way as to protect the health and safety of the student and others.

  • (4) Restraint must not deprive the student of basic human necessities.

(d) Training on use of restraint. Training for school employees, volunteers, or independent contractors must be provided according to the following requirements.

  • (1) A core team of personnel on each campus must be trained in the use of restraint, and the team must include a campus administrator or designee and any general or special education personnel likely to use restraint.

  • (2) Personnel called upon to use restraint in an emergency and who have not received prior training must receive training within 30 school days following the use of restraint.

  • (3) Training on use of restraint must include prevention and de-escalation techniques and provide alternatives to the use of restraint.

  • (4) All trained personnel must receive instruction in current professionally accepted practices and standards regarding behavior management and the use of restraint.

(e) Documentation and notification on use of restraint. In a case in which restraint is used, school employees, volunteers, or independent contractors must implement the following documentation requirements.

  • (1) On the day restraint is utilized, the campus administrator or designee must be notified verbally or in writing regarding the use of restraint.
  • (2) On the day restraint is utilized, a good faith effort must be made to verbally notify the parent(s) regarding the use of restraint.
  • (3) Written notification of the use of restraint must be placed in the mail or otherwise provided to the parent within one school day of the use of restraint.
  • (4) Written documentation regarding the use of restraint must be placed in the student's special education eligibility folder in a timely manner so the information is available to the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee when it considers the impact of the student's behavior on the student's learning and/or the creation or revision of a behavioral intervention plan (BIP).
  • (5) Written notification to the parent(s) and documentation to the student's special education eligibility folder must include the following:
    • (A) name of the student;
    • (B) name of the staff member(s) administering the restraint;
    • (C) date of the restraint and the time the restraint began and ended;
    • (D) location of the restraint;
    • (E) nature of the restraint;
    • (F) a description of the activity in which the student was engaged immediately preceding the use of restraint;
    • (G) the behavior that prompted the restraint;
    • (H) the efforts made to de-escalate the situation and alternatives to restraint that were attempted; and
    • (I) information documenting parent contact and notification.

(f) Clarification regarding restraint. The provisions adopted under this section do not apply to the use of physical force or a mechanical device that does not significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of the student's body. Restraint that involves significant restriction as referenced in subsection (b)(2) of this section does not include:

  • (1) physical contact or appropriately prescribed adaptive equipment to promote normative body positioning and/or physical functioning;
  • (2) limited physical contact with a student to promote safety (e.g., holding a student's hand), prevent a potentially harmful action (e.g., running into the street), teach a skill, redirect attention, provide guidance to a location, or provide comfort;
  • (3) limited physical contact or appropriately prescribed adaptive equipment to prevent a student from engaging in ongoing, repetitive self-injurious behaviors, with the expectation that instruction will be reflected in the individualized education program (IEP) as required by 34 CFR, §300.324(a)(2)(i) to promote student learning and reduce and/or prevent the need for ongoing intervention; or
  • (4) seat belts and other safety equipment used to secure students during transportation.
    Source: Texas Secretary of State

Texas Administrative Regulations 19 38.1053 Procedures for Use of Restraint and Time-Out

(g) Use of time-out. A school employee, volunteer, or independent contractor may use time-out in accordance with subsection (b)(3) of this section with the following limitations.

  • (1) Physical force or threat of physical force must not be used to place a student in time-out.

  • (2) Time-out may only be used in conjunction with an array of positive behavior intervention strategies and techniques and must be included in the student's IEP and/or BIP if it is utilized on a recurrent basis to increase or decrease a targeted behavior.

  • (3) Use of time-out must not be implemented in a fashion that precludes the ability of the student to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum and advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals specified in the student's IEP.

(h) Training on use of time-out. Training for school employees, volunteers, or independent contractors must be provided according to the following requirements.

  • (1) General or special education personnel who implement time-out based on requirements established in a student's IEP and/or BIP must be trained in the use of time-out.

  • (2) Newly-identified personnel called upon to implement time-out based on requirements established in a student's IEP and/or BIP must receive training in the use of time-out within 30 school days of being assigned the responsibility for implementing time-out.

  • (3) Training on the use of time-out must be provided as part of a program which addresses a full continuum of positive behavioral intervention strategies, and must address the impact of time-out on the ability of the student to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum and advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals specified in the student's IEP.

  • (4) All trained personnel must receive instruction in current professionally accepted practices and standards regarding behavior management and the use of time-out.

(i) Documentation on use of time-out. Necessary documentation or data collection regarding the use of time-out, if any, must be addressed in the IEP or BIP. The ARD committee must use any collected data to judge the effectiveness of the intervention and provide a basis for making determinations regarding its continued use.

(j) Student safety. Any behavior management technique and/or discipline management practice must be implemented in such a way as to protect the health and safety of the student and others. No discipline management practice may be calculated to inflict injury, cause harm, demean, or deprive the student of basic human necessities.

(k) Data reporting. With the exception of actions covered by subsection (f) of this section, data regarding the use of restraint must be electronically reported to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in accordance with reporting standards specified by the TEA.
Source: Texas Secretary of State

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