Use of Isolation, Restraint and Reasonable Force - Procedures - 3246-P

Mukilteo School District
Students - Series 3000
Use of Isolation, Restraint and Reasonable Force - Procedures - 3246-P


  1. Physical Force: Any use of bodily force or physical restriction that substantially immobilizes or reduces the free movement of a student through physical contact.

  2. Restraint:  Physical intervention or force used to control a student, including the use of a restraint device to restrict a student's freedom of movement. The appropriate use of prescribed medical, orthopedic, or therapeutic devices when used as intended, such as to achieve proper body position, balance, or alignment, or to permit a student to safely participate in activities, is excluded from this definition.

  3. Restraint Device:  A device used to assist in controlling a student, including but not limited to metal handcuffs, plastic ties, ankle restraints, leather cuffs, other hospital-type restraints, pepper spray, tasers or batons; however, seatbelts and similar seat harnesses used to safely transport students are excluded from this definition.

  4. School Resource Officer: A commissioned law enforcement officer who provides law enforcement services and may perform other duties for the District, and is assigned by the employing police department or agency to work in collaboration with the District.

  5. School security officer: A classified or contracted School District employee other than a School Resource Officer who provides security services in the District under the direction of a school administrator.

  6. De-Escalation: The use of strategies to defuse an individual who has lost self control, is non-compliant or is demonstrating unacceptable behavior. These strategies address behavior that is dangerous, disruptive or otherwise impedes the learning of a student or others.

  7. Isolation: Restricting the student alone within a room or any other form of enclosure, from which the student may not leave. A student's voluntary use of a quiet space for self-calming, or temporary removal of a student from their regular instructional area to an unlocked area for purposes of carrying out an appropriate positive behavior intervention plan is excluded from this definition.

  8. Less than Lethal Devices: Restraint devices that are unlikely to cause permanent physical harm, impairment or death. Examples of less than lethal devices are batons and electrical impulse control devices.

  9. Likelihood of Serious Harm:
    1. A substantial risk at any moment that:
      1. physical harm will be inflicted by a student upon their own person, as evidenced by threats or attempts to commit suicide or inflict physical harm on oneself;
      2. physical harm will be inflicted by a student upon another, as evidenced by behavior that has caused such harm or that places another person or persons in reasonable fear of sustaining such harm; or
      3. physical harm will be inflicted by a student upon the property of others, as evidenced by behavior that has caused substantial loss or damage to the property of others; or

    2. the student has threatened the physical safety of another and has a history of one or more violent acts.

  10. Bodily Injury, Physical Injury or Bodily Harm: Physical pain or injury, illness or an impairment of physical condition.

  11. Substantial Bodily Harm: Bodily injury which involves a temporary but substan­tial disfigurement or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impair­ment of the function of any bodily part or organ or which causes a fracture of any bodily part.

  12. Great Bodily Harm: Bodily injury which creates a probability of death or which causes significant serious permanent disfigurement or which causes a significant permanent loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ.

Use of Force Continuum:

Whenever possible and practical, the use of force continuum will be followed for all students including those with a Section 504 plan and those eligible for special education. District staff must only use the degree of force necessary to protect a student, students or staff from imminent bodily injury, substantial bodily harm or great bodily harm.

  1. The generally-accepted use of force continuum includes, in order:

    1. Staff/school security officer presence;
    2. Verbal/non-verbal communication, de-escalation;
    3. Physical interventions;
    4. Restraint/isolation
    5. Restraint devices (School Resource Officers only.)

  2. Appropriate Use of Force:

    1. Physical force or restraint may be used to prevent imminent likelihood of serious harm, or if de-escalation interventions fail or are inappropriate to protect District property from substantial loss or damage.
    2. Physical force or restraint may be used as needed to obtain possession of a known or reasonably-suspected weapon or other dangerous object on a person or within the control of a person.
    3. Consistent with the provisions found in RCW 28A.600.485, nothing in this policy and procedure precludes the use of reasonable force, restraint or isolation to control unpredicted spontaneous behavior by a student with or without an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a Section 504 Plan, when the behavior poses an imminent likelihood of serious harm.

  3. Inappropriate Use of Force:

    1. Physical force, restraint, or isolation will not be used as a form of discipline or punishment;

    2. Physical force or restraint will not be used as an ini­tial response to destruction of property, school disruption, refusal of the student to comply with school rules, or a staff directive; or a verbal threat that does not constitute a threat of imminent bodily injury, unless other forms of de-escalation intervention fail or are inappropriate; and

    3. Physical force or restraint should not be used as an intervention, if the school employee, School Resource Officer or school security officer knows that the student has a health condition or physical problem and the condition or problem would be exacerbated by the use of force.

  4. Degree of Force:

    1. Force must not be continued if a determination is made by the staff member administering the force that the student is no longer at risk of causing imminent bodily injury to themself or others; and

    2. Force must be administered in such a way so as to prevent or minimize physical harm.  If, at any time during the use of force, the student demonstrates significant physical distress, the force must be reduced immediately and, if necessary, school staff must take immediate steps to seek medical assistance.


An adult must continually monitor any student when force, restraint or isolation is used. The monitoring must be conducted by direct observation of the student. Monitoring must include regularly evaluating the student for signs of physical distress.

Staff Training Requirements:

Annually, administrators will provide all staff with the District-established policy and procedure regarding the use of reasonable force, restraint or isolation. All staff should be informed of de-escalation strategies and proper physical intervention procedures. Appropriate staff and those who are required or reasonably anticipated to provide physical force intervention will be trained in the use of physical force intervention, which training shall be updated annually.

Reporting Requirements:

The following reporting requirements will apply when a student with an individualized education program (IEP) or a Section 504 plan is subjected to 1) any restraint, including restraint that results in a physical injury to a student or a staff member; 2) any isolation event or 3) use of a restraint device by a School Resource Officer.

  1. Processing the Incident:

    Following the release of a student from the use of restraint or isolation or use of a restraint device by a School Resource Officer, the school will implement follow-up procedures. These procedures will include:

    1. reviewing the incident with the student and the parent or guardian to address the behavior that precipitated the use of restraint or isolation and the appropriateness of the response; and
    2. reviewing the incident with the staff person(s) who administered the restraint or isolation to discuss whether proper procedures were followed and what training or support the staff person(s) need to help the student avoid similar incidents.

  2. Incident Report:

    Any school employee, resource officer, or school security officer who uses physical force, restraint or isolation on a student during school-sponsored instruction or activities will inform the building administrator or a designee as soon as possible, and within two business days submit a written report of the incident to the District office. The report will include:

    1. The date and time of the incident;
    2. The name and job title of the individual who administered the restraint or isolation;
    3. A description of the activity that led to the restraint or isolation;
    4. The type of restraint or isolation used, including the duration;
    5. Whether the student or staff was physically injured during the restraint or isolation;
    6. Any medical care provided; and
    7. Any recommendations for changing the nature or amount of resources available to the student and staff members in order to avoid similar incidents.

  3. Informing Parent or Guardian of Incident:

    The principal or a designee will make a reasonable effort to verbally inform the student's parent or guardian of the incident, within twenty four hours of the incident and send written notification as soon as practical but postmarked no later than five business days after the use of restraint or isolation occurred. If the school or District customarily provides the parent or guardian with school-related information in a language other than English, the written report will be provided to the parent in that language.

    1. Individualized Education Programs (IEP) that include the use of restraint or isolation as a planned behavior intervention or Section 504 plans that include restraint or isolation will include procedures for notification of parents or guardians regarding the use of force, restraint or isolation.

    2. Parents or guardians will be provided a copy of the District policy on the use of force, restraint or isolation at the time the program or plan is developed.

Annual Report:

By January 1st annually, the District will summarize the written incident reports received under and submit the summaries to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. For each school, the District will include the number of individual incidents of restraint and isolation, the number of students involved in the incidents, the number of injuries to students and staff, and the types of restraint or isolation used.

Resolution of Concerns About the Use-of-Force Incident:

A student or their parent or guardian who has concerns regarding a specific incident involving use of force, restraint or isolation may seek to resolve the concern by using the District’s complaint process which is set forth in Board Policy 4312 - Complaints Concerning Staff or Programs.


November 12, 2013
October 14, 2015