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Restraint and Seclusion Policy

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) believes that social and emotional skills form a foundation for young people’s success not just in school, but also as healthy and caring adults, productive workers, and engaged citizens. DCPS wants all students and staff to learn and work in a safe school environment. Seclusion and restraint are only permitted in emergency situations to protect a student or other person from imminent, serious physical harm and other less intrusive, nonphysical interventions, including de-escalation, have failed or been determined to be inappropriate. This restriction applies to all students, including students with and without disabilities. 

This policy conveys limitations on and requirements for the use of restraint and seclusion in emergency situations, and it is binding on all DCPS staff, contract employees, and volunteers. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all students and staff are safe in school, students who may have a behavior crisis are free from inappropriate use of physical restraint or seclusion, and the use of these techniques does not violate students’ rights, including students with disabilities. 

This policy provides the legal requirements for the use of restraint and seclusion and reaffirms DCPS’ commitment to Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as a school-wide program which will reduce the incidence of emergency situations in schools. It includes specific information on what emergency situations are, what DCPS staff are required to do when they occur, and what follow-up steps are necessary after restraint or seclusion is used.