Outline of the state of Virginia
Limits use and includes comprehensive protections

Restraint and Seclusion

Restraint and Seclusion

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.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.1:1. The use of seclusion and restraint in public schools; Board of Education regulations.

Board shall adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth that (i) are consistent with its Guidelines for the Development of Policies and Procedures for Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations and the Fifteen Principles contained in the U.S. Department of Education's Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document; (ii) include definitions, criteria for use, restrictions for use, training requirements, notification requirements, reporting requirements, and follow-up requirements; and (iii) address distinctions, including distinctions in emotional and physical development, between (a) the general student population and the special education student population and (b) elementary school students and secondary school students. The Board shall specifically (1) identify and prohibit the use of any method of restraint or seclusion that it determines poses a significant danger to the student and (2) establish safety Standard for seclusion.

Policy Type

Virginia Administrative Code 8 VAC20-671-640. Time-Out.

Policies and procedures shall be written that govern the conditions under which a student may self-select or be placed in time-out and the maximum length of time a student may be in time-out. The conditions for time-out and length of time a student may be in time-out shall be based on the student's chronological and developmental levels. The school's policy and procedures shall include:

    1. Each student is entitled to be completely free from any unnecessary use of time-out.
    1. A door to a time-out room shall not be locked nor secured in a manner that prevents the student from opening it.
    1. A student in time-out shall be able to communicate with staff.
    1. Staff shall check on the student at least every 15 minutes and more often depending on the nature of the student's disability, condition, or behavior.
    1. The use of time-out and staff checks on the student shall be documented.
    1. Staff shall review procedures when a student consistently chooses to stay in time-out beyond the determined time limit to determine that it has not become reinforcement.
Policy Type

Virginia Administrative Code 8 VAC20-671-650. Prohibitions.

The following actions are prohibited:

    1. Restraint and seclusion, except when it is necessary to protect the student or others from personal harm, injury, or death and other less restrictive interventions were unsuccessful;
    1. Prone "face down" restraints, mechanical restraints, pharmacological restraints, and any other restraint that restricts breathing or harms the child or interferes with the child's ability to communicate;
    1. Deprivation of drinking water or food;
    1. Limitation on contacts and visits from the student's probation officer, social worker, placing agency representative, or other service provider as appropriate;
    1. Any action that is humiliating, degrading, or abusive;
    1. Corporal punishment;
    1. Deprivation of approved prescription medication or other necessary services;
    1. Denial of access to toilet facilities;
    1. Application of aversive stimuli;
    1. Strip and body cavity searches; and
    1. Discipline, restraint, or implementation of behavior management plans by other students.
Policy Type

Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-630. Behavior Intervention.

A. Each school shall develop and implement written policies and procedures that emphasize positive behavior interventions.

B. Behavior techniques that are used or available for use shall be listed in the order of their relative degree of restrictiveness and specify the staff members who may authorize the use of each technique.

C. Staff shall consider behavior management data in their annual review of the school's policies and procedures.

D. When substantive revisions are made to policies and procedures governing management of student behavior, written information concerning the revisions shall be provided to students, parents, placing agencies, and the department prior to implementation.

E. The parent shall be provided access to the school's behavior management policy and procedures upon enrollment and at the beginning of each school year, and provided a written copy upon request.

Policy Type

Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-660. Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations.

A. Each school shall have written policies and procedures made available annually to students, parents, and placing agencies that include, but are not limited to:

    1. Methods for preventing student violence, self-injurious behavior, and suicide, including de-escalation of potentially dangerous behavior occurring among groups of students or with an individual student.
    1. A statement that corporal punishment and abusive techniques and interventions are not authorized, permitted, or condoned.
    1. A statement that behavior management techniques are applied in order of their degree of intrusiveness or restrictiveness and the conditions under which they may be used by trained personnel.

B. Physical restraint or seclusion is allowed only in an emergency situation and only when it is necessary to protect the student or another person from imminent danger of serious physical harm after less intrusive interventions have been attempted and failed to manage that particular behavior and there is a substantial explanation for why other interventions were deemed inadequate or inappropriate.

    1. The use of restraint or seclusion, particularly when there is repeated use for an individual child, multiple uses within the same classroom, or multiple uses by the same individual, shall trigger a review and, if appropriate, a revision of behavioral strategies currently in place to address dangerous behavior. If positive behavioral strategies are not in place, staff shall develop them.
    1. In cases where a student has a history of dangerous behavior for which restraint or seclusion was considered or used, a school shall have a plan developed in consultation with the parent for (i) teaching and supporting more appropriate behavior and (ii) determining positive methods to prevent behavioral escalations that have previously resulted in the use of restraint or seclusion.
    1. Physical restraint or seclusion shall not be used for disciplinary reasons, as a punishment, or retaliation, or for staff's convenience.
    1. Each student is entitled to be completely free from any unnecessary use of physical restraint or seclusion.
    1. Staff shall continuously monitor the use of physical restraint and seclusion and shall not rely on an electronic surveillance device.
    1. Physical restraint may only be implemented, monitored, or discontinued by staff who have received proper training.
    1. The door to any room in which a student is secluded may be held shut only when a staff member is personally securing it. The door must immediately disengage when the staff member steps away from it. The room must meet specification including size and viewing panels that ensure the student's safety at all times including during a fire or other emergency.
    1. Schools shall permit parents to inspect any area used during an emergency for the purpose of seclusion.
    1. The parent shall be informed on the day of each incident of physical restraint or seclusion. The student's home school division and placing agency shall be informed as soon as possible but within 24 hours of the occurrence.
    1. Each application of physical restraint or seclusion shall be fully documented in the student's record including date, time, staff involved, justification for the physical restraint or seclusion, behavior antecedents, less restrictive interventions that were unsuccessfully attempted prior to using physical restraint or seclusion, duration, description of method or methods of physical restraint techniques used, signature of the person completing the report and date, and reviewer's signature and date. The written report shall be made available to the parent within two business days of the occurrence and opportunity given for the parent and student, as appropriate, to discuss the matter with school staff.
    1. Schools shall collect and annually report to the department the number of times restraint and seclusion were used during the school year. The data shall be disaggregated by students and number of occurrences.
Policy Type

Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-700. Serious Incident Reports.

A. Any serious incident, accident, or injury to a student that occurs at the school or a school-sponsored activity shall be reported to the parent immediately, but no later than the end of the school day. A publically placed student's home school division and the placing agency shall be notified as soon as possible, but not later than 24 hours of the occurrence.

B. The school shall document the following:

    1. The date and time the incident occurred;
    1. A brief description of the incident;
    1. The action taken as a result of the incident;
    1. The name of the person who completed the incident report; and
    1. The date and name of the person who made the report to the proper authorities.

C. The department shall review reports of serious incidents and investigate as appropriate.

Policy Type