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Policy 504.12-R

Physical Restraint of Students

It is recognized that in given situations, it may be necessary to physically restrain students.  Such restraining should adhere to the following guidelines


Physical restraint is a judicious control measure with a resisting child in order to control movement, location and behaviour such as violence or abuse to persons, self or property.

When To Restrain

Physical restraint must be viewed as a temporary measure to facilitate appropriate student behaviour.  Restraining is required when, in the opinion of the supervisory adult, the threat is immediate and other measures have been demonstrated to be of little or no benefit to a student who may pose danger to self, others and/or when there is a risk of serious damage to valuable property (e.g.  computer equipment, laboratory apparatus, industrial educational machinery).

It is recognized that there may be occasions when physical restraint may be appropriate even though more moderate control measures have not been used (e.g. a student is in the process of causing harm to another person).

Who Should Restrain

Restraining may be required inside or outside of the classroom and should be done only by an authorized person.

Restraining Procedures

The procedures involve the three basic steps of restraining, debriefing and documenting.

1.  Physical contact should be conducted:

- with controlled, unemotional and reassuring statements that give reasons for the restraint and describe the necessary behaviour for ending the restraint,

- with the least amount of force to protect student and restrainer,

- with the least amount of disturbance to the rest of the class,

- in the presence of another adult when possible,
Techniques may include:

- the restrainer holding the student's hands or wrists

- the restrainer holding the student's feet or legs

- the restrainer holding the student on the floor, face down towards the floor, supporting his/her own weight, and exerting only the required pressure to control the student

- the restrainer seated on the floor with back against the wall and holding the student's arms crossed over the chest

- the restrainer holding the child against a wall, facing the wall with his hands behind his back

It should be noted in situations where the restrainer has less strength than the student, it may be necessary to obtain additional assistance in order to effect physical restraint.

2.  Debriefing should occur immediately with the student so that both the restrainer and the    student are comfortable with the resolution and that the student is encouraged to:

- state what happened

- state the behavioural rule or expectation

- state a more appropriate behavioural plan

3.  Documentation and review includes:

- time and location of incident
- written statements that lead to and describe the incident and the resolution (direct quotes are advisable).
- notification of the restraining to the principal and the parents

- names of all people involved or witnessing the incident

- debriefing with personnel directly involved in the restraint

- a meeting with concerned personnel (contract worker, MSSH worker, psychiatrist, principal and parents) if restraint is required frequently in order to discuss future strategies

- if restraint occurs in a public place, persons in charge (eg. curator of the aquarium, manager of the shopping mall) should be informed of the situation whenever possible

Board Concurrence:  05 March 1990