Restrictive Procedures

2013 Restrictive Procedures Legislation: A Summary

On July 1, 2013, amendments to Minnesota Statutes, sections 125A.0941 and 125A.0942, with respect to the use of restrictive procedures on children with disabilities in Minnesota public schools went into effect.

Following is a list of amendments now in effect:

The definition of “emergency” was amended. “Emergency” means a situation where immediate intervention is needed to protect a child or other individual from physical injury. Emergency does not mean circumstances such as: a child who does not respond to a task or request and instead places his or her head on a desk or hides under a desk or table; a child who does not respond to a staff person’s request unless failing to respond would result in physical injury to the child or other individual; or an emergency incident has already occurred and no threat of physical injury currently exists. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0941(b).

The definition of “physical holding” was amended. “Physical holding” means physical intervention intended to hold a child immobile or limit a child’s movement, where body contact is the only source of physical restraint, and where immobilization is used to effectively gain control of a child in order to protect a child or other individual from physical injury. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0941(c).

The definition of “restrictive procedures” was amended. “Restrictive procedures” means the use of physical holding or seclusion in an emergency. Restrictive procedures must not be used to punish or otherwise discipline a child. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0941(f).

The definition of “seclusion” was amended. “Seclusion” means confining a child in a room from which egress is barred. Egress may be barred by an adult locking or closing the door in the room or preventing the child from leaving the room. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0941(g).

Standards for restrictive procedures plans was amended. Schools that intend to use restrictive procedures shall maintain and make publicly accessible in an electronic format on a school or district website or make a paper copy available upon request describing a restrictive procedures plan for children with disabilities that at least:

(1) lists the restrictive procedures the school intends to use;

(2) describes how the school will implement a range of positive behavior strategies and provide links to mental health services;

(3) describes how the school will monitor and review the use of restrictive procedures, including:

(i) conducting post-use debriefings, consistent with the documentation requirements; and

(ii) convening an oversight committee to undertake a quarterly review of the use of restrictive procedures based on patterns or problems indicated by similarities in the time of day, day of the week, duration of the use of a procedure, the individuals involved, or other factors associated with the use of restrictive procedures; the number of times a restrictive procedure is used schoolwide and for individual children; the number and types of injuries, if any, resulting from the use of restrictive procedures; whether restrictive procedures are used in nonemergency situations; the need for additional staff training; and proposed actions to minimize the use of restrictive procedures; and

(iii) includes a written description and documentation of the training staff completed under subdivision 5. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd.1(a).

(4) includes a written description and documentation of the training staff completed under subdivision 5. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd.1(a).

Schools annually must publicly identify oversight committee members who must at least include:

(1) a mental health professional, school psychologist, or school social worker;

(2) an expert in positive behavior strategies;

(3) a special education administrator; and

(4) a general education administrator. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd.1(b).

Schools annually must publicly identify oversight committee members who must at least include:

1. a mental health professional, school psychologist, or school social worker;

2. an expert in positive behavior strategies;

3. a special education administrator; and

4. a general education administrator. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd.1(b).

Standards for when a child’s individualized education program (IEP) team must meet was amended. The district must hold an IEP meeting: within ten calendar days after district staff use restrictive procedures on two separate school days within 30 calendar days or a pattern of use emerges and the child’s IEP or behavior intervention plan (BIP) does not provide for using restrictive procedures in an emergency; or at the request of a parent or the district after restrictive procedures are used. The district must review use of restrictive procedures at a child’s annual IEP meeting when the child’s IEP provides for using restrictive procedures in an emergency. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 2(c).

If the IEP team under paragraph (c) determines that existing interventions and supports are ineffective in reducing the use of restrictive procedures or the district uses restrictive procedures on a child on ten or more school days during the same school year, the team, as appropriate, either must consult with other professionals working with the child; consult with experts in behavior analysis, mental health, communication, or autism; consult with culturally competent professionals; review existing evaluations, resources, and successful strategies; or consider whether to reevaluate the child. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 2(d).

At the IEP meeting, the team must review any known medical or psychological limitations, including any medical information the parent provides voluntarily, that contraindicate the use of a restrictive procedure, consider whether to prohibit that restrictive procedure, and document any prohibition in the IEP or BIP. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 2(e).

Standards for physical holding and seclusion was amended. Physical holding or seclusion may not be used to discipline a noncompliant child. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 3(a)(2).

Standards for prone restraint was amended. Until August 1, 2015, a school district may only use prone restraints with children age five or older. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 3(a)(8).

Standards for developing a statewide plan to reduce use of restrictive procedures was amended. By March 1, 2014, stakeholders must recommend to the commissioner specific and measurable implementation and outcome goals for reducing the use of restrictive procedures; and the commissioner must submit to the legislature a report on districts’ progress in reducing the use of restrictive procedures that recommends how to further reduce these procedures and eliminate the use of prone restraints. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 3(b).

Standards for reporting the use of restrictive procedures was amended. By June 30 each year, districts must report summary data on their use of restrictive procedures to the department, in a form and manner determined by the commissioner. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 3(b).

Standards for training was amended. Staff who use restrictive procedures, including paraprofessionals, shall complete training in two additional skills and knowledge areas:

(1) district policies and procedures for timely reporting and documenting each incident involving use of a restricted procedure; and

(2) schoolwide programs on positive behavior strategies. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 5(a)(11) and (12).

Standards for maintaining a list of training programs was amended. The commissioner also must develop and maintain a list of experts to help IEP teams reduce the use of restrictive procedures. Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 5(b).