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502.14 - Use of Physical Restraint and/or Seclusion of Students

It is the goal of the school district that all students can learn and grow in a safe and peaceful environment that nurtures the students and models respect for oneself and others. On occasion, trained district employees and others may have to use behavior management interventions, physical restraint, and/or seclusion of students. The goal of these interventions is to promote the dignity, care, safety, welfare, and security of each child and the school community. With this objective in mind, the district will prioritize the use of the least restrictive behavioral interventions appropriate for the situation.

PHYSICAL RESTRAINT means a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move their arms, legs, body, or head freely. Physical restraint does not mean a technique used by trained school employees, or used by a student, for the specific and approved therapeutic or safety purposes for which the technique was designed and, if applicable, prescribed. Physical restraint does not include instructional strategies such as physically guiding a student during an educational task, handshaking, hugging, or other non-disciplinary physical contact.

SECLUSION means the involuntary confinement of a student in a seclusion room or area from which the student is prevented or prohibited from leaving; however, preventing a student from leaving a classroom or school building are not considered seclusion. Seclusion does not include instances when a school employee is present within the room and providing services to the student, such as crisis intervention or instruction.


  1. To prevent or terminate an imminent threat of bodily injury to the student or others; or
  2. To prevent serious damage to property of significant monetary value or significant nonmonetary value or importance; or
  3. When the student’s actions seriously disrupt the learning environment or when physical restraint or seclusion is necessary to ensure the safety of the student or others; and
  4. When less restrictive alternatives to seclusion or physical restraint would not be effective, would not be feasible under the circumstances, or have failed in preventing or terminating the imminent threat or behavior; and
  5. When the physical restraint or seclusion complies with all applicable laws.

Prior to using physical restraint or seclusion, employees must receive training in accordance with law. Any individual who is not employed by the school district but whose duties could require the individual to use or be present during the use of physical restraint or seclusion on a student will be invited to participate in the same training offered to employees on this topic.

When required by law, the Executive Director of Student Services [or designee] will ensure a post-occurrence debriefing meeting is held, maintain documentation, and fulfill reporting requirements for each occurrence of physical restraint or seclusion as required by law.

Adopted: 2/21
Reviewed: 10/23
Related Policy: 502.1; 502.1-R; 502.7; 502.14-R; 502.14-E1-E3
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 279.8; 280.21; 281 IAC 103
IASB Reference: 503.06