West Virginia - Restraint and Seclusion: Prohibitions or Restrictions

Prohibitions Or Restrictions
Policy Type: 

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.

West Virginia Administrative Code 126-99. EXPECTED BEHAVIOR IN SAFE AND SUPPORTIVE SCHOOLS (4373)


Section 3. Use of Physical Punishment Prohibited

W. Va. Code § 18A-5-1(e) prohibits school employees from using corporal (bodily) punishment on any student. No physical punishment of any kind can be inflicted upon a student. This includes:

  • hitting or striking a student on their physical person;
  • requiring physical activity as a punishment (this does not apply to physical activity within the structure and context of extracurricular activities);
  • use of noxious stimuli (e.g. pepper spray), denial of food or water or other negative physical actions to control behavior; and
  • seclusion - a removal in which a student is left unsupervised in a dark area or in any space as an intervention or consequence to inappropriate behavior.

Section 4.  Use of Restraint

  • Reasonable force may be used to restrain a student from hurting himself/herself or any other person or property. All students, including students with disabilities, must be treated with dignity and respect. Behavior interventions and support practices must be implemented in such a way as to protect the health and safety of the students and others. When the use of physical restraint is necessary, the following guidelines must be followed:


  • Restraint - the use of physical force to significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a student's body.
  • Emergency - a situation in which a student's behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others or serious property destruction.

A school employee and/or independent contractor may use restraint in an emergency as defined above with the following limitations:

  • Restraint shall be limited to the use of such reasonable force as is necessary to address the emergency. Procedures and maneuvers that restrict breathing (e.g. prone restraint), place pressure or weight on the chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, neck or throat, or may cause physical harm are prohibited.
  • Restraint shall be discontinued at the point at which the emergency no longer exists.
  • Restraint shall be implemented in such a way as to protect the health and safety of the student and others.
  • Restraint shall not deprive the student of basic human necessities.
  • Appropriate (intended use) utilization of mechanical restraints such as seat belts or feeding tables when applied for their intended purpose is not prohibited; however, the application of mechanical restraint is prohibited as an intervention or consequence for inappropriate behavior.

School employees and/or independent contractors who, as determined by the principal, may need to use restraint shall be provided training according to the following requirements:

  • A core team of personnel in each school must be trained annually in the use of a nationally recognized restraint process. The team must include an administrator or designee and any general or special education personnel likely to use restraint;
  • Personnel called upon to use restraint in an emergency and who have not received prior training must receive training within 30 days following the use of restraint if the principal determines that there is a reasonable likelihood that the situation leading to the use of restraint will reoccur;
  • Training on the use of restraint must include prevention and de-escalation techniques and provide alternatives to the use of restraint;
  • All trained personnel shall also receive instruction in current professionally accepted practices and standards regarding behavior interventions and supports;
Policy Links: