State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_115C > GS_115C-391_1

§ 115C‑391.1. Permissible use of seclusion and restraint.

(a)        It is the policy ofthe State of North Carolina to:

(1)        Promote safety andprevent harm to all students, staff, and visitors in the public schools.

(2)        Treat all publicschool students with dignity and respect in the delivery of discipline, use ofphysical restraints or seclusion, and use of reasonable force as permitted bylaw.

(3)        Provide school staffwith clear guidelines about what constitutes use of reasonable forcepermissible in North Carolina public schools.

(4)        Improve studentachievement, attendance, promotion, and graduation rates by employing positivebehavioral interventions to address student behavior in a positive and safemanner.

(5)        Promote retention ofvaluable teachers and other school personnel by providing appropriate trainingin prescribed procedures, which address student behavior in a positive and safemanner.

(b)        The followingdefinitions apply in this section:

(1)        "Assistivetechnology device" means any item, piece of equipment, or product systemthat is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capacities of achild with a disability.

(2)        "Aversiveprocedure" means a systematic physical or sensory intervention program formodifying the behavior of a student with a disability which causes orreasonably may be expected to cause one or more of the following:

a.         Significant physicalharm, such as tissue damage, physical illness, or death.

b.         Serious, foreseeablelong‑term psychological impairment.

c.         Obvious repulsion onthe part of observers who cannot reconcile extreme procedures with acceptable,standard practice, for example: electric shock applied to the body; extremelyloud auditory stimuli; forcible introduction of foul substances to the mouth,eyes, ears, nose, or skin; placement in a tub of cold water or shower;slapping, pinching, hitting, or pulling hair; blindfolding or other forms ofvisual blocking; unreasonable withholding of meals; eating one's own vomit; ordenial of reasonable access to toileting facilities.

(3)        "Behavioralintervention" means the implementation of strategies to address behaviorthat is dangerous, disruptive, or otherwise impedes the learning of a studentor others.

(4)        "IEP"means a student's Individualized Education Plan.

(5)        "Isolation"means a behavior management technique in which a student is placed alone in anenclosed space from which the student is not prevented from leaving.

(6)        "Lawenforcement officer" means a sworn law enforcement officer with the powerto arrest.

(7)        "Mechanicalrestraint" means the use of any device or material attached or adjacent toa student's body that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to anyportion of the student's body and that the student cannot easily remove.

(8)        "Physicalrestraint" means the use of physical force to restrict the free movementof all or a portion of a student's body.

(9)        "Schoolpersonnel" means:

a.         Employees of a localboard of education.

b.         Any person workingon school grounds or at a school function under a contract or written agreementwith the public school system to provide educational or related services tostudents.

c.         Any person workingon school grounds or at a school function for another agency providingeducational or related services to students.

(10)      "Seclusion"means the confinement of a student alone in an enclosed space from which thestudent is:

a.         Physically preventedfrom leaving by locking hardware or other means.

b.         Not capable ofleaving due to physical or intellectual incapacity.

(11)      "Time‑out"means a behavior management technique in which a student is separated fromother students for a limited period of time in a monitored setting.

(c)        Physical Restraint:

(1)        Physical restraintof students by school personnel shall be considered a reasonable use of forcewhen used in the following circumstances:

a.         As reasonably neededto obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous objects on a person orwithin the control of a person.

b.         As reasonably neededto maintain order or prevent or break up a fight.

c.         As reasonably neededfor self‑defense.

d.         As reasonably neededto ensure the safety of any student, school employee, volunteer, or otherperson present, to teach a skill, to calm or comfort a student, or to preventself‑injurious behavior.

e.         As reasonably neededto escort a student safely from one area to another.

f.          If used as providedfor in a student's IEP or Section 504 plan or behavior intervention plan.

g.         As reasonably neededto prevent imminent destruction to school or another person's property.

(2)        Except as set forthin subdivision (1) of this subsection, physical restraint of students shall notbe considered a reasonable use of force, and its use is prohibited.

(3)        Physical restraintshall not be considered a reasonable use of force when used solely as adisciplinary consequence.

(4)        Nothing in thissubsection shall be construed to prevent the use of force by law enforcementofficers in the lawful exercise of their law enforcement duties.

(d)        MechanicalRestraint:

(1)        Mechanical restraintof students by school personnel is permissible only in the followingcircumstances:

a.         When properly usedas an assistive technology device included in the student's IEP or Section 504plan or behavior intervention plan or as otherwise prescribed for the studentby a medical or related service provider.

b.         When using seatbelts or other safety restraints to secure students during transportation.

c.         As reasonably neededto obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous objects on a person orwithin the control of a person.

d.         As reasonably neededfor self‑defense.

e.         As reasonably neededto ensure the safety of any student, school employee, volunteer, or otherperson present.

(2)        Except as set forthin subdivision (1) of this subsection, mechanical restraint, including thetying, taping, or strapping down of a student, shall not be considered areasonable use of force, and its use is prohibited.

(3)        Nothing in thissubsection shall be construed to prevent the use of mechanical restraintdevices such as handcuffs by law enforcement officers in the lawful exercise oftheir law enforcement duties.

(e)        Seclusion:

(1)        Seclusion ofstudents by school personnel may be used in the following circumstances:

a.         As reasonably neededto respond to a person in control of a weapon or other dangerous object.

b.         As reasonably neededto maintain order or prevent or break up a fight.

c.         As reasonably neededfor self‑defense.

d.         As reasonably neededwhen a student's behavior poses a threat of imminent physical harm to self orothers or imminent substantial destruction of school or another person'sproperty.

e.         When used asspecified in the student's IEP, Section 504 plan, or behavior interventionplan; and

1.         The student ismonitored while in seclusion by an adult in close proximity who is able to seeand hear the student at all times.

2.         The student isreleased from seclusion upon cessation of the behaviors that led to theseclusion or as otherwise specified in the student's IEP or Section 504 plan.

3.         The space in whichthe student is confined has been approved for such use by the local educationagency.

4.         The space isappropriately lighted.

5.         The space isappropriately ventilated and heated or cooled.

6.         The space is free ofobjects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.

(2)        Except as set forthin subdivision (1) of this subsection, the use of seclusion is not consideredreasonable force, and its use is not permitted.

(3)        Seclusion shall notbe considered a reasonable use of force when used solely as a disciplinaryconsequence.

(4)        Nothing in thissubsection shall be construed to prevent the use of seclusion by lawenforcement officers in the lawful exercise of their law enforcement duties.

(f)         Isolation. – Isolationis permitted as a behavior management technique provided that:

(1)        The space used forisolation is appropriately lighted, ventilated, and heated or cooled.

(2)        The duration of theisolation is reasonable in light of the purpose of the isolation.

(3)        The student isreasonably monitored while in isolation.

(4)        The isolation spaceis free of objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.

(g)        Time‑Out. – Nothingin this section is intended to prohibit or regulate the use of time‑outas defined in this section.

(h)        AversiveProcedures. – The use of aversive procedures as defined in this section isprohibited in public schools.

(i)         Nothing in thissection modifies the rights of school personnel to use reasonable force aspermitted under G.S. 115C‑390 or modifies the rules and procedures governingdiscipline under G.S. 115C‑391(a).

(j)         Notice, Reporting,and Documentation.

(1)        Notice ofprocedures. – Each local board of education shall provide copies of thissection and all local board policies developed to implement this section toschool personnel and parents or guardians at the beginning of each school year.

(2)        Notice of specifiedincidents:

a.         School personnelshall promptly notify the principal or principal's designee of:

1.         Any use of aversiveprocedures.

2.         Any prohibited useof mechanical restraint.

3.         Any use of physicalrestraint resulting in observable physical injury to a student.

4.         Any prohibited useof seclusion or seclusion that exceeds 10 minutes or the amount of timespecified on a student's behavior intervention plan.

b.         When a principal orprincipal's designee has personal knowledge or actual notice of any of theevents described in this subdivision, the principal or principal's designeeshall promptly notify the student's parent or guardian and will provide thename of a school employee the parent or guardian can contact regarding theincident.

(3)        As used insubdivision (2) of this subsection, "promptly notify" means by theend of the workday during which the incident occurred when reasonably possible,but in no event later than the end of following workday.

(4)        The parent orguardian of the student shall be provided with a written incident report forany incident reported under this section within a reasonable period of time,but in no event later than 30 days after the incident. The written incidentreport shall include:

a.         The date, time ofday, location, duration, and description of the incident and interventions.

b.         The events or eventsthat led up to the incident.

c.         The nature andextent of any injury to the student.

d.         The name of a schoolemployee the parent or guardian can contact regarding the incident.

(5)        No local board ofeducation or employee of a local board of education shall discharge, threaten,or otherwise retaliate against another employee of the board regarding thatemployee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges ofemployment because the employee makes a report alleging a prohibited use ofphysical restraint, mechanical restraint, aversive procedure, or seclusion,unless the employee knew or should have known that the report was false.

(k)        Nothing in thissection shall be construed to create a private cause of action against anylocal board of education, its agents or employees, or any institutions ofteacher education or their agents or employees or to create a criminal offense.(2005‑205,s. 2; 2006‑264, s. 58.)