Seclusion and Restraint

Seclusion and restraint have been used in various situations to deal with violent or non-compliant behavior.
  • Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in an area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.
  • Restraint means to be physically held, including physical restraint (a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head freely) and mechanical restraint (the use of a device to restrict a student’s freedom of movement).
Michigan students have died due to these practices (see MPAS: Seclusion and Restraint in Michigan Schools Result in Injury and Death).

Michigan seclusion and restraint laws

The 2016 legislation (House Bills 5409-5417) says that restraint and seclusion practices may only be used if a child is a danger to themselves or others. The bills also require any use of restraint and seclusion to be reported to the parents and the Michigan Department of Education, as well as mandate additional training for school personnel on how to handle behavioral situations.

  • Require districts and intermediate school districts to develop policies that follow the state plan.
  • Define the conditions under which seclusion and restraint could be used during emergencies and require that such incidents be reported.
  • Establish a “positive behavioral support system and intervention plan” to be adopted by all schools.
  • Create best practices for data collection on incidents and school training requirements for emergencies.

Seclusion and Restraint Documents from Michigan Department of Education

Additional resources:

We also have a series of webpages to help understand behavior:

Accommodations/Modifications Sometimes an accommodation or modification to the classroom or the curriculum is the solution to a challenging behavior
Behavior Intervention Plan A written plan that identifies problem behaviors and how they will be addressed.
Behavior is Communication All behavior happens for a reason, but why?
Bullying Definitions, actions to take, specific protections for students with disabilities.
Discipline Covering discipline, suspension, expulsion, manifestation determination review.
Functional Behavior Assessment/Analysis A process for collecting data and analyzing the function of (ie- the reason why) a challenging behavior is occurring.
Positive Behavior Supports An approach to addressing challenging behaviors that teaches positive behavior skills rather than just using punishment.
Seclusion and Restraint When school personnel tie down, pin down, and confine children to locked rooms or boxes.
School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports A building-wide initiative to support all students in school.

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