Minnesota Restraint Law 121.582. Student Discipline; Reasonable Force
- Reasonable force standard.
- A teacher or school principal, in exercising the person’s lawful authority, may use reasonable force when it is necessary under the circumstances to correct or restrain a student or prevent bodily harm or death to another.
- A school employee, school bus driver, or other agent of a district, in exercising the person’s lawful authority, may use reasonable force when it is necessary under the circumstances to restrain a student or prevent bodily harm or death to another.
- Paragraphs (1) and (2) do not authorize conduct prohibited under section 125A.0942.
- Civil liability.
- A teacher or school principal who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (a), has a defense against a civil action for damages under section 123B.25.
- A school employee, bus driver, or other agent of a district who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), has a defense against a civil action for damages under section 123B.25.
- Criminal prosecution.
- A teacher or school principal who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (a), has a defense against a criminal prosecution under section 609.06, subdivision 1.
- A school employee, bus driver, or other agent of a district who, in the exercise of the person’s lawful authority, uses reasonable force under the standard in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), has a defense against a criminal prosecution under section 609.06, subdivision 1.
- Supplementary rights and defenses. Any right or defense in this section is supplementary to those specified in section 121A.58, 121A.67, 123B.25, or 609.06, subdivision 1.
MSA 125A.0942 Restrictive Procedures for Children With Disabilities. Definitions.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prone restraint” means placing a child in a face down position.
- 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.
- Seclusion means confining a child alone 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. Removing a child from an activity to a location where the child cannot participate in or observe the activity is not seclusion.
MSA 125A.0942 Standards for Restrictive Procedures for Children With Disabilities
- Restrictive procedures may be used only by a licensed special education teacher, school social worker, school psychologist, behavior analyst certified by the National Behavior Analyst Certification Board, a person with a master’s degree in behavior analysis, other licensed education professional, paraprofessional under section 120B.363, or mental health professional under section.
- Physical holding or seclusion. (a) Physical holding or seclusion may be used only in an emergency. A school that uses physical holding or seclusion shall meet the following requirements:
- physical holding or seclusion is the least intrusive intervention that effectively responds to the emergency;
- physical holding or seclusion is not used to discipline a noncompliant child;
- physical holding or seclusion ends when the threat of harm ends and the staff determines the child can safely return to the classroom or activity;
- staff directly observes the child while physical holding or seclusion is being used.
- Prohibitions. The following actions or procedures are prohibited:
- engaging in conduct prohibited under section 121A.58;
- requiring a child to assume and maintain a specified physical position, activity, or posture that induces physical pain;
- totally or partially restricting a child’s senses as punishment;
- presenting an intense sound, light, or other sensory stimuli using smell, taste, substance, or spray as punishment;
- denying or restricting a child’s access to equipment and devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and communication boards that facilitate the child’s functioning, except when temporarily removing the equipment or device is needed to prevent injury to the child or others or serious damage to the equipment or device, in which case the equipment or device shall be returned to the child as soon as possible;
- interacting with a child in a manner that constitutes sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse under section 626.556;
- withholding regularly scheduled meals or water;
- denying access to bathroom facilities;
- physical holding that restricts or impairs a child’s ability to breathe, restricts or impairs a child’s ability to communicate distress, places pressure or weight on a child’s head, throat, neck, chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen, or results in straddling a child’s torso; and
- prone restraint.
Nothing in this section or section 125A.0941 precludes the use of reasonable force under sections 121A.582; 609.06, subdivision 1; and 609.379.
Commentary: The “prohibition of prone restraint” is a bunch of craftily worded legislation intended to mislead schools, teachers, Minnesota citizens and residents into thinking they cannot use prone restraint, when, in reality they can use prone (and other physical interventions) as long as the intervention/use of force is reasonable.
The State has granted any person, citizen, teacher, paraprofessional and/or administrator civil and criminal immunity which includes immunity and exemption from administrative penalities and wrongful termination for the lawful/reasonable use of force. See MSA 121.582 (cited above)