Mississippi School Restraint Regulation

Mississippi School Restraint Law and Regulation

MCA (Regulation) 38.13. Restraint and Seclusion
Applies to all public schools in Mississippi.

    • Sets physical restraint as a last resort.
    • Requires all staff members to be trained in restraint and seclusion if the school district permits them.
    • Requires that training is approved by MDE and incorporates:
      1. Teaching positive behavioral intervention strategies, crisis intervention, and de-escalation techniques;
      2. Evidence-based practices;
      3. Keeping staff and students safe during required restraints;
      4. Identification of antecedent behaviors; and
      5. Certification and recertification of school personnel.
      6. Requires parental notification within 48 hours of any restraint.

Key Definitions

    • Behavioral intervention is defined as the implementation of strategies to address behavior that is dangerous, inappropriate, detrimental, or otherwise impedes the learning of the students.
    • Dangerous behavior is defined as behavior that presents an imminent danger of physical harm to self or others but does not include inappropriate behaviors such as disrespect, noncompliance, insubordination, or out of seat behaviors.
    • De-escalation techniques are defined as strategically employed verbal or non-verbal interventions used to reduce the intensity of threatening behavior before a crisis situation occurs.
    • Emergency situation is defined as spontaneous unpredictable events posing an imminent threat of serious bodily injury.
    • Imminent danger is defined as a danger which is impending, close at hand, threatening, or about to happen.
    • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is defined as a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with §§ 300.320- 300.324.
    • Physical escort is defined as the temporary touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder or back for the purpose of inducing a student who is acting out (with minimal resistance) and able to respond to such physical prompt, to move to a safe location.
    • Physical prompt is defined as a teaching technique that involves physical contact with the student and that enable the student to learn or model the physical movement necessary for the development of the desired competency.
    • Physical Restraint is defined as “the use of physical force, without the use of any device or material that restricts the free movement of all or a portion of a student’s body.” Physical restraint does not include briefly holding a student’s hand or arm to calm them or escort them to another area. A physical restraint shall be removed as soon as the student is no longer a danger to himself/herself or others. The term physical restraint does not include:
      1. Physical restraint that restricts the flow of air to the student’s lungs.
      2. Prone restraint in which a student is placed face down on the floor or other surface, and physical pressure is applied to the student’s body to keep the student in the prone position.

General Procedures: Restraint

    • Physical restraint is considered to be an emergency response after all other verbal and non-verbal de-escalation measures have failed in effectiveness based on the following criteria:
      • The student or other person is engaged in actions that would constitute a danger to themselves or others;
      • The student or other person is engaged in actions that would constitute potential or actual destruction of property;
      • To remove a non-compliant student or person from the scene of an incident;
      • The restraint should be removed as soon as the student is no longer a danger to themselves or others.
      • When deemed it is necessary to restrain a student who is a danger to themselves or others, the following procedures shall be used:
        1. Restraint shall be conducted by staff who are trained in the restraint procedures adopted by the school district;
        2. Staff shall carefully observe the student throughout the restraint to observe the student’s physical and emotional status;
        3. Restraint shall be immediately terminated if the student appears to be, or claims to be, in severe stress;
        4. The restraint shall be removed as soon as the staff determines the student is no longer a danger to himself/herself or others;
        5. When the student is able, he/she should be returned to the instructional activity, or to a less restrictive environment….
        6. School districts that permit restraint and seclusion shall ensure that staff members are trained in the use of restraint

Commentary: The Regulation’s Definition of Physical Restraint is trying to be “cute” by excluding prone holds from the definition of restraint to give the impression that it cannot be used. Excluding something from a definition does not exclude it’s use.  The regulation does not prohibit the use of prone restraint.  The regulation only prohibits  restraints that restrict the flow of air.

Commentary:  A regulation is not a law.  Regulations are adopted by administrative agencies (unelected bureaucrats) who are tasked with implementing laws adopted by duly elected legislators.  Administrative agencies do not have the authority to create law.  They also do not have the authority to enact rules that violate the law. Mississippi Law allows a person to defend self and others by reasonable means.  An administrative agency does not have the legal authority to curtail this right.

The State has granted any person, citizen, teacher, paraprofessional and/or administrator civil and criminal immunity for the lawful use of defensive force.
The court shall award reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought if the defendant acted in accordance with Mississippi defense of self and others laws. 97-3-15.

Disclaimer. Nothing in this post is intended to create an attorney client relationship.  Nothing written or spoken constitutes legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice. There may be additional laws, rules, policies applicable to the use of restraint and force in your state. The above is an overview of information compiled from individual sources that are maintained and
updated with varying frequencies. While we attempt to keep the information current, readers should read the source information directly,  go to the source to check for updates or conduct further research.  For information and/or legal advice, consult with your attorney or States Attorney General.