Florida Senate - 2015 SB 1008
By Senator Flores
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to the seclusion and restraint on
3 students with disabilities in public schools; amending
4 s. 1003.573, F.S.; defining terms; providing
5 legislative findings and intent; requiring that manual
6 physical restraint be used only in an emergency when
7 there is an imminent risk of serious injury or death
8 to a student or others; providing restrictions on the
9 use of manual physical restraint; prohibiting the use
10 of manual physical restraint by school personnel who
11 are not certified to use district-approved methods for
12 applying restraint techniques; prohibiting specified
13 techniques; requiring that each school medically
14 evaluate a student after the student is manually
15 physically restrained; prohibiting school personnel
16 from placing a student in seclusion; providing
17 requirements for the use of time-out; requiring that a
18 school district report its training and certification
19 procedures to the Department of Education; requiring
20 that school personnel be trained and certified in the
21 use of manual physical restraint; requiring that a
22 school review a student’s functional behavior
23 assessment and positive behavioral intervention plan
24 under certain circumstances; requiring that parents be
25 notified of a school district’s policies regarding the
26 use of manual physical restraint; requiring that each
27 school send a redacted copy of any incident report or
28 other documentation to Disability Rights Florida;
29 requiring that the department make available on its
30 website data of incidents of manual physical restraint
31 by a specified date; requiring that each school
32 district develop policies and procedures addressing
33 the allowable use of manual physical restraint,
34 personnel authorized to use such restraint, training
35 procedures, analysis of data trends, and the reduction
36 of the use of manual physical restraint; requiring
37 that any revisions to a school district’s policies and
38 procedures be filed with the bureau chief of the
39 Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services
40 by a specified date; providing an effective date.
42 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
44 Section 1. Section 1003.573, Florida Statutes, is amended
45 to read:
46 1003.573 Seclusion and restraint on students with
47 disabilities in public schools
Use of restraint and seclusion on
48 students with disabilities.—
49 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
50 (a) “Department” means the Department of Education.
51 (b) “Imminent risk of serious injury or death” means the
52 impending risk of a significant injury, such as a laceration,
53 bone fracture, substantial hematoma, or other injury to internal
54 organs, or death.
55 (c) “Manual physical restraint” means the use of physical
56 restraint techniques that involve physical force applied by a
57 teacher or other staff member to restrict the movement of all or
58 part of a student’s body.
59 (d) “Mechanical restraint” means the use of a physical
60 device that restricts a student’s movement or restricts the
61 normal function of a student’s body. The term includes the use
62 of straps, belts, tie-downs, calming blankets, and chairs with
63 straps; however, the term does not include the use of:
64 1. Medical protective equipment;
65 2. Physical equipment or orthopedic appliances, surgical
66 dressings or bandages, or supportive body bands or other
67 restraints necessary for ongoing medical treatment in the
68 educational setting;
69 3. Devices used to support functional body position or
70 proper balance, or to prevent a person from falling out of a bed
71 or a wheelchair, except when such device is used for any purpose
72 other than supporting a body position or proper balance, such as
73 coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation, to prevent
74 imminent risk of serious injury or death of the student or
75 others, or for any other behavior management reason; or
76 4. Equipment used for safety during transportation, such as
77 seatbelts or wheelchair tie-downs.
78 (e) “Medical protective equipment” means health-related
79 protective devices prescribed by a physician or dentist for use
80 as student protection in response to an existing medical
82 (f) “Seclusion” means removing a student from an
83 educational environment, involuntarily confining the student in
84 a room or area, and preventing the student from leaving the room
85 or area if achieved by locking the door or otherwise physically
86 blocking the student’s way, threatening physical force or other
87 consequences, or using physical force. The term does not include
88 the use of time-out.
89 (g) “Student” means a student with a disability.
90 (h) “Time-out” means a procedure in which access to varied
91 sources of reinforcement is removed or reduced for a particular
92 time period contingent on a response. The opportunity to receive
93 reinforcement is contingently removed for a specified time.
94 Either a student is contingently removed from the reinforcing
95 environment or the reinforcing environment is contingently
96 removed for some stipulated duration. The term does not include
97 the use of a locked room, a blocked exit, or physical force or
99 (2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.—
100 (a) The Legislature finds that public schools have a
101 responsibility to ensure that each student is treated with
102 respect and dignity in a trauma-informed environment that
103 provides for the physical safety and security of students and
105 (b) The Legislature finds that students, educators, and
106 families are concerned about the use of seclusion and restraint,
107 particularly when used on students in special education
108 programs. Seclusion and restraint refer to safety procedures in
109 which a student is isolated from others or physically held in
110 response to serious problem behavior that places the student or
111 others at risk of injury or harm. The Legislature is concerned
112 that these procedures are prone to misapplication and abuse and
113 place a student at an equal or greater risk than the risk of the
114 student’s problem behavior. Moreover, the Legislature is
115 concerned about the inadequate documentation of seclusion or
116 restraint procedures, the failure to notify parents when
117 seclusion or restraint is applied, and the failure to use data
118 to analyze and address the cause of the precipitating behavior.
119 Particular concerns include:
120 1. The inappropriate selection and implementation of
121 seclusion or restraint as a treatment or behavioral intervention
122 rather than as a safety procedure.
123 2. The inappropriate use of seclusion or restraint in
124 connection with behaviors, such as noncompliance, threats, or
125 disruption, which do not place the student or others at risk of
126 injury or harm.
127 3. The potential for injury or harm to students, peers, or
128 staff during attempts to conduct seclusion or restraint.
129 4. The potential for increased risk of injury or harm when
130 seclusion or restraint is implemented by staff who are not
131 adequately trained.
132 5. The potential for the inadvertent reinforcement or
133 magnification of the problem behavior with the use of seclusion
134 or restraint.
135 6. The implementation of seclusion or restraint independent
136 of comprehensive, function-based behavioral intervention plans.
137 (c) The Legislature finds that the majority of problem
138 behaviors that are currently used to justify seclusion or
139 restraint could be prevented with early identification and
140 intensive early intervention. The need for seclusion or
141 restraint is, in part, a result of an insufficient investment in
142 prevention efforts. The Legislature further finds that the use
143 of seclusion or restraint may produce trauma in students. For
144 such students, who are already experiencing trauma, the use may
145 cause retraumatization. The lasting effects of unaddressed
146 childhood trauma place a heavy burden on individuals, families,
147 and communities. Research has shown that trauma significantly
148 increases the risk of mental health problems, difficulties with
149 social relationships and behavior, physical illness, and poor
150 school performance.
151 (d) The Legislature intends that students be free from
152 seclusion and free from the abusive and unnecessary use of
153 restraint in public schools. The Legislature further intends to
154 achieve an ongoing reduction of, leading to the prevention of,
155 the use of manual physical restraint in public schools and,
156 specifically, to prohibit the use of seclusion, prone and supine
157 restraint, and mechanical restraint on students. The Legislature
158 also intends that manual physical restraint be used only when an
159 imminent risk of serious injury or death exists; that manual
160 physical restraint not be employed as punishment, for the
161 convenience of staff, or as a substitute for a positive
162 behavior-support plan; and that, if manual physical restraint is
163 used, persons applying such restraint impose the least possible
164 restrictions and discontinue the restraint as soon as the threat
165 of imminent risk of serious injury or death ceases.
166 (3) MANUAL PHYSICAL RESTRAINT.—Manual physical restraint
167 may be used only in an emergency when there is an imminent risk
168 of serious injury or death to the student or others.
169 (a) Manual physical restraint may be used only for the
170 period of time necessary to eliminate the imminent risk of
171 serious injury or death to the student or others.
172 (b) The degree of force applied during manual physical
173 restraint must be only that degree of force necessary to protect
174 the student or others from bodily injury.
175 (c) Manual physical restraint shall be used only by school
176 personnel who are qualified and certified to use the district
177 approved methods for the appropriate application of specific
178 restraint techniques. School personnel who have received
179 training that is not associated with their employment with the
180 school district, such as a former law enforcement officer who is
181 now a teacher, shall be certified in the specific district
182 approved techniques and may not apply techniques or procedures
183 acquired elsewhere.
184 (d) School personnel may not manually physically restrain a
185 student except when an imminent risk of serious injury or death
186 to the student or others exists.
187 (e) School personnel may not use any of the following
188 manual physical restraint techniques on a student:
189 1. Prone and supine restraint.
190 2. Pain inducement to obtain compliance.
191 3. Bone locks.
192 4. Hyperextension of joints.
193 5. Peer restraint.
194 6. Mechanical restraint.
195 7. Pressure or weight on the chest, lungs, sternum,
196 diaphragm, back, or abdomen, causing chest compression.
197 8. Straddling or sitting on any part of the body or any
198 maneuver that places pressure, weight, or leverage on the neck
199 or throat, on an artery, or on the back of the student’s head or
200 neck or that otherwise obstructs or restricts the circulation of
201 blood or obstructs an airway.
202 9. Any type of choking, including hand chokes, and any type
203 of neck or head hold.
204 10. Any technique that involves pushing anything on or into
205 the student’s mouth, nose, eyes, or any part of the face or that
206 involves covering the face or body with anything, including soft
207 objects such as pillows or washcloths.
208 11. Any maneuver that involves punching, hitting, poking,
209 pinching, or shoving.
210 12. Any type of mat or blanket restraint.
211 13. Water or lemon sprays.
212 (f) The school shall ensure that a student is medically
213 evaluated by a physician, nurse, or other qualified medical
214 professional as soon as possible after the student has been
215 manually physically restrained by school personnel.
216 (4) SECLUSION; TIME-OUT.—
217 (a) School personnel may not place a student in seclusion.
218 (b) School personnel may place a student in time-out if the
219 following conditions are met:
220 1. The time-out is part of a positive behavioral
221 intervention plan developed for that student from a functional
222 behavioral assessment and referenced in the student’s individual
223 education plan.
224 2. There is documentation that the time-out was preceded by
225 the use of other positive behavioral supports that were not
227 3. The time-out takes place in a classroom or in another
228 environment where class educational activities are taking place.
229 4. The student is not physically prevented from leaving the
230 time-out area.
231 5. The student is observed on a constant basis by an adult
232 for the duration of the time-out.
233 6. The time-out area and process are free of any action
234 that is likely to embarrass or humiliate the student.
235 (c) Time-out may not be used for a period that exceeds 1
236 minute for each year of a student’s age, and time-out must end
237 immediately when the student is calm enough to return to his or
238 her seat.
239 (d) Time-out may not be used as a punishment or negative
240 consequence of a student’s behavior.
241 (5) TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION.—
242 (a) Each school district shall report its training and
243 certification procedures to the department by publishing the
244 procedures in the district’s special policies and procedures
246 (b) Training for initial certification in the use of manual
247 physical restraint must include:
248 1. Procedures for deescalating problem behaviors before the
249 problems increase to a level or intensity necessitating physical
251 2. Information regarding the risks associated with manual
252 physical restraint and procedures for assessing individual
253 situations and students in order to determine if the use of
254 manual physical restraint is appropriate and sufficiently safe.
255 3. The actual use of specific techniques that range from
256 the least to most restrictive, with ample opportunity for
257 trainees to demonstrate proficiency in the use of such
259 4. Techniques for implementing manual physical restraint
260 with multiple staff members working as a team.
261 5. Techniques for assisting a student to reenter the
262 instructional environment and again engage in learning.
263 6. Instruction in the district’s documentation and
264 reporting requirements.
265 7. Procedures to identify and deal with possible medical
266 emergencies arising during the use of manual physical restraint.
267 8. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
268 (c) School districts shall provide refresher certification
269 training courses in manual physical restraint techniques at
270 least annually to all staff members who have successfully
271 completed the initial certification program. The district must
272 identify those persons to be certified and maintain a record
273 that includes the name and position of the person certified, the
274 date of the most recent certification, an indication of whether
275 it was an initial certification or a refresher certification,
276 and whether the individual successfully completed the
277 certification and achieved proficiency.
278 (d) School district policies regarding the use of manual
279 physical restraint must address whether it is appropriate for an
280 employee working in specific settings, such as a school bus
281 driver, school bus aide, job coach, employment specialist, or
282 cafeteria worker, to be certified in manual physical restraint
283 techniques. In the case of school resource officers or others
284 who may be employed by other agencies when working in a school,
285 administrators shall review each agency’s specific policies to
286 be aware of techniques that may be used.
287 (6) STUDENT-CENTERED FOLLOWUP.—If a student is manually
288 physically restrained more than twice during a school year, the
289 school shall review the student’s functional behavioral
290 assessment and positive behavioral intervention plan.
291 (7) (1) DOCUMENTATION AND REPORTING.—
292 (a) At the beginning of each school year, a school district
293 shall provide a copy of its policies on emergency procedures,
294 including its policies on the use of manual physical restraint,
295 to each student’s parent or guardian. The student’s parent or
296 guardian must sign a form indicating that he or she has received
297 and read the district’s policies, which the student’s school
298 shall retain on file.
299 (b) (a) A school shall prepare an incident report within 24
300 hours after a student is released from a restraint or seclusion.
301 If the student’s release occurs on a day before the school
302 closes for the weekend, a holiday, or another reason, the
303 incident report must be completed by the end of the school day
304 on the day the school reopens.
305 (c) (b) The following must be included in the incident
307 1. The name of the student restrained or secluded.
308 2. The age, grade, ethnicity, and disability of the student
309 restrained or secluded.
310 3. The date and time of the event and the duration of the
311 restraint or seclusion.
312 4. The location at which the restraint or seclusion
314 5. A description of the type of restraint used in terms
315 established by the Department of Education.
316 6. The name of the person using or assisting in the
317 restraint or seclusion of the student.
318 7. The name of any nonstudent who was present to witness
319 the restraint or seclusion.
320 8. A description of the incident, including:
321 a. The context in which the restraint or seclusion
323 b. The student’s behavior leading up to and precipitating
324 the decision to use manual physical manual or physical restraint
325 or seclusion, including an indication as to why there was an
326 imminent risk of serious injury or death to the student or
328 c. The specific positive behavioral strategies used to
329 prevent and deescalate the behavior.
330 d. What occurred with the student immediately after the
331 termination of the restraint or seclusion.
332 e. Any injuries, visible marks, or possible medical
333 emergencies that may have occurred during the restraint or
334 seclusion, documented according to district policies.
335 f. The results of the medical evaluation and a copy of any
336 report by the medical professionals conducting the evaluation,
337 if available. If the medical report is not available within 24
338 hours, the district must submit the medical report separately as
339 soon as it becomes available.
340 g. f. Evidence of steps taken to notify the student’s parent
341 or guardian.
342 (d) (c) A school shall notify the parent or guardian of a
343 student each time manual physical manual or physical restraint
344 or seclusion is used. Such notification must be in writing and
345 provided before the end of the school day on which the restraint
346 or seclusion occurs. Reasonable efforts must also be taken to
347 notify the parent or guardian by telephone or computer e-mail,
348 or both, and these efforts must be documented. The school shall
349 obtain, and keep in its records, the parent’s or guardian’s
350 signed acknowledgment that he or she was notified of his or her
351 child’s restraint or seclusion.
352 (e) (d) A school shall also provide the parent or guardian
353 with the completed incident report in writing by mail within 3
354 school days after a student was manually physically manually or
355 physically restrained or secluded. The school shall obtain, and
356 keep in its records, the parent’s or guardian’s signed
357 acknowledgment that he or she received a copy of the incident
359 (8) (2) MONITORING.—
360 (a) Monitoring of The use of manual physical manual or
361 physical restraint or seclusion on students shall be monitored
362 occur at the classroom, building, district, and state levels.
363 (b) Any documentation prepared by a school pursuant to as
364 required in subsection (7) (1) shall be provided to the school
365 principal, the district director of Exceptional Student
366 Education, and the bureau chief of the Bureau of Exceptional
367 Education and Student Services electronically each week month
368 that the school is in session.
369 (c) Each week that a school is in session, the school shall
370 send a redacted copy of any incident report and other
371 documentation prepared pursuant to subsection (7) to Disability
372 Rights Florida.
373 (d) (c) The department shall maintain aggregate data of
374 incidents of manual physical manual or physical restraint and
375 seclusion and disaggregate the data for analysis by county,
376 school, student exceptionality, and other variables, including
377 the type and method of restraint or seclusion used. This
378 information shall be updated monthly and made available to the
379 public through the department’s website no later than January
380 31, 2016.
381 (e) (d) The department shall establish standards for
382 documenting, reporting, and monitoring the use of manual
383 physical manual or physical restraint or mechanical restraint,
384 and occurrences of seclusion. These standards shall be provided
385 to school districts by October 1, 2011.
386 (9) (3) SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.—
387 (a) Each school district shall develop policies and
388 procedures that are consistent with this section and that govern
389 the following:
390 1. Allowable use of manual physical restraint on students.
391 2. Personnel authorized to use manual physical restraint.
392 3. Training procedures.
393 4. 1. Incident-reporting procedures.
394 5. 2. Data collection and monitoring, including when, where,
395 and why students are restrained and or secluded ; the frequency
396 of occurrences of such restraint or seclusion ; and the prone or
397 mechanical restraint that is most used.
398 6. 3. Monitoring and reporting of data collected.
399 7. 4. Training programs relating to manual physical manual
400 or physical restraint and seclusion.
401 8. 5. The district’s plan for selecting personnel to be
403 9. 6. The district’s plan for reducing the use of restraint
404 and seclusion particularly in settings in which it occurs
405 frequently or with students who are restrained repeatedly , and
406 for reducing the use of prone restraint and mechanical
407 restraint. The plan must include a goal for reducing the use of
408 restraint and seclusion and must include activities, skills, and
409 resources needed to achieve that goal. Activities may include,
410 but are not limited to:
411 a. Additional training in positive behavioral support and
412 crisis management;
413 b. Parental involvement;
414 c. Data review;
415 d. Updates of students’ functional behavioral analysis and
416 positive behavior intervention plans;
417 e. Additional student evaluations;
418 f. Debriefing with staff;
419 g. Use of schoolwide positive behavior support; and
420 h. Changes to the school environment.
421 10. Analysis of data to determine trends.
422 11. Ongoing reduction of the use of manual physical
424 (b) Any revisions that a school district makes to its to
425 the district’s policies and procedures, which are must be
426 prepared as part of the school district’s its special policies
427 and procedures, must be filed with the bureau chief of the
428 Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services no later
429 than January 31, 2012.
430 (4) PROHIBITED RESTRAINT.—School personnel may not use a
431 mechanical restraint or a manual or physical restraint that
432 restricts a student’s breathing.
433 (5) SECLUSION.—School personnel may not close, lock, or
434 physically block a student in a room that is unlit and does not
435 meet the rules of the State Fire Marshal for seclusion time-out
437 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.