Toolkit: Definitions

Below are definition recommended for inclusion with your state law.

Chemical restraint: A drug or medication used on a student to control behavior or restrict freedom of movement that is not prescribed by a licensed physician, or other qualified health professional acting under the scope of the professional’s authority under State law, for the standard treatment of a student’s medical or psychiatric condition; and administered as prescribed by the licensed physician or other qualified health professional acting under the scope of the professional’s authority under State law.

Corporal punishment: Deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force used as a means of discipline or to coerce compliance.

Mechanical restraint: The use of devices as a means of restricting a student’s freedom of movement. Mechanical restraints include duct tape, straps, bungee cords, and ropes used to tie children to furniture or to tie body parts together; chairs and furniture that children are locked into; devices that restrain arms, legs, torsos, and other body parts; weighted materials; and similar mechanisms.

Physical escort: A temporary open-handed touching of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of inducing a student who is acting out to walk to a safe location.

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. The term physical restraint does not include a physical escort.

Serious physical harm: Has a legal definition, which is the same as the definition for serious bodily injury. As defined at 18 U.S.C. 1365(h)(3) it includes:

  • A substantial risk of death;
  • Extreme physical pain;
  • Protracted and obvious disfigurement; or
  • Protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

Seclusion: The involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically or verbally prevented from leaving. If a student is confined to a room or area with one or more adults who are practicing planned ignoring or using their bodies to prevent egress it is considered seclusion. A student taking a self-directed break in a room or area, where they are not prevented egress is not considered seclusion.

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