2011 Louisiana Laws
Revised Statutes
TITLE 17 — Education
RS 17:416.21 — Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and physical restraint

LA Rev Stat § 17:416.21 What's This?

§416.21. Behavior of students with exceptionalities; use of seclusion and physical restraint

A. As used in this Section:

(1) "Imminent risk of harm" means an immediate and impending threat of a person causing substantial physical injury to self or others.

(2)(a) "Mechanical restraint" means the application of any device or object used to limit a person's movement.

(b) Mechanical restraint does not include:

(i) A protective or stabilizing device used in strict accordance with the manufacturer's instructions for proper use and which is used in compliance with orders issued by an appropriately licensed health care provider.

(ii) Any device used by a duly licensed law enforcement officer in the execution of his official duties.

(3)(a) "Physical restraint" means bodily force used to limit a person's movement.

(b) Physical restraint does not include:

(i) Consensual, solicited, or unintentional contact.

(ii) Holding of a student, by a school employee, for less than five minutes in any given hour or class period for the protection of the student or others.

(iii) Holding of a student, by one school employee, for the purpose of calming or comforting the student, provided the student's freedom of movement or normal access to his or her body is not restricted.

(iv) Minimal physical contact for the purpose of safely escorting a student from one area to another.

(v) Minimal physical contact for the purpose of assisting the student in completing a task or response.

(4) "Positive behavior interventions and support" means a systematic approach to embed evidence-based practices and data-driven decision making when addressing student behavior in order to improve school climate and culture.

(5) "School employee" means a teacher, paraprofessional, administrator, support staff member, or a provider of related services.

(6) "Seclusion" means a procedure that isolates and confines a student in a separate room or area until he or she is no longer an immediate danger to self or others.

(7) "Seclusion room" means a room or other confined area, used on an individual basis, in which a student is removed from the regular classroom setting for a limited time to allow the student the opportunity to regain control in a private setting and from which the student is involuntarily prevented from leaving.

(8) "Written guidelines and procedures" means the written guidelines and procedures adopted by a school's governing authority regarding appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.

B.(1) Seclusion shall be used only:

(a) For behaviors that involve an imminent risk of harm.

(b) As a last resort when de-escalation attempts have failed and the student continues to pose an imminent threat to self or others.

(2) Seclusion shall not be used to address behaviors such as general noncompliance, self-stimulation, and academic refusal. Such behaviors shall be responded to with less stringent and less restrictive techniques.

(3)(a) A seclusion room shall be used only as a last resort if and when less restrictive measures, such as positive behavioral supports, constructive and non-physical de-escalation, and restructuring of a student's environment, have failed to stop a student's actions that pose an imminent risk of harm.

(b) A student shall be placed in a seclusion room only by a school employee who uses accepted methods of escorting a student to a seclusion room, placing a student in a seclusion room, and supervising a student while he or she is in the seclusion room.

(c) Only one student may be placed in a seclusion room at any given time, and the school employee supervising the student must be able to see and hear the student the entire time the student is placed in the seclusion room.

(4) A seclusion room shall:

(a) Be free of any object that poses a danger to the student placed in the room.

(b) Have an observation window and be of a size that is appropriate for the student's size, behavior, and chronological and developmental age.

(c) Have a ceiling height and heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems comparable to operating classrooms in the school.

C.(1) Physical restraint shall be used only:

(a) When a student's behavior presents a threat of imminent risk of harm to self or others and only as a last resort to protect the safety of self and others.

(b) To the degree necessary to stop dangerous behavior.

(c) In a manner that causes no physical injury to the student, results in the least possible discomfort, and does not interfere in any way with a student's breathing or ability to communicate with others.

(2) No student shall be subjected to any form of mechanical restraint.

(3) No student shall be physically restrained in a manner that places excessive pressure on the student's chest or back or that causes asphyxia.

(4) A student shall be physically restrained only in a manner that is directly proportionate to the circumstances and to the student's size, age, and severity of behavior.

D. Seclusion and physical restraint shall not be used as a form of discipline or punishment, as a threat to control, bully, or obtain behavioral compliance, or for the convenience of school personnel.

E. No student shall be subjected to unreasonable, unsafe, or unwarranted use of seclusion or physical restraint.

F. A student shall not be placed in seclusion or physically restrained if he or she is known to have any medical or psychological condition that precludes such action, as certified by a licensed health care provider in a written statement provided to the school in which the student is enrolled.

G. A student who has been placed in seclusion or has been physically restrained shall be monitored continuously. Such monitoring shall be documented at least every fifteen minutes and adjustments made accordingly, based upon observations of the student's behavior.

H. A student shall be removed from seclusion or released from physical restraint as soon as the reasons for justifying such action have subsided.

I.(1) The parent or other legal guardian of a student who has been placed in seclusion or physically restrained shall be notified as soon as possible. The student's parent or other legal guardian shall also be notified in writing, within twenty-four hours, of each incident of seclusion or physical restraint. Such notice shall include the reason for such seclusion or physical restraint, the procedures used, the length of time of the student's seclusion or physical restraint, and the names and titles of any school employee involved.

(2) The director or supervisor of special education shall be notified any time a student is placed in seclusion or is physically restrained.

J. A school employee who has placed a student in seclusion or who has physically restrained a student shall document and report each incident in accordance with the policies adopted by the school's governing authority. Such report shall be submitted to the school principal not later than the school day immediately following the day on which the student was placed in seclusion or physically restrained and a copy shall be provided to the student's parent or legal guardian.

K. If a student is involved in five incidents in a single school year involving the use of physical restraint or seclusion, the student's Individualized Education Plan team shall review and revise the student's behavior intervention plan to include any appropriate and necessary behavioral supports.

L. The documentation compiled for a student who has been placed in seclusion or has been physically restrained and whose challenging behavior continues or escalates shall be reviewed at least once every three weeks.

M.(1) The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall adopt written guidelines and procedures regarding:

(a) Reporting requirements and follow-up procedures.

(b) Notification requirements for school officials and a student's parent or other legal guardian.

(c) An explanation of the methods of physical restraint and the school employee training requirements relative to the use of restraint.

(2) These guidelines and procedures shall be provided to all school employees and every parent of a child with an exceptionality.

N.(1) The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall report all instances where seclusion or physical restraint is used to address student behavior to the Department of Education.

(2) The Department of Education shall maintain a database of all reported incidents of seclusion and physical restraint of students with exceptionalities and shall disaggregate the data for analysis by school; student age, race, ethnicity, and gender; student disability, where applicable; and any involved school employees.

Acts 2011, No. 328, §1, eff. June 29, 2011.

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