The following was included in TCTA's 2017-18 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2017 but is subject to change.

Rules on Restraint

Texas Education Agency rules (19 TAC, Sec. 89.1053) limit the use of physical force or a mechanical device that would significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a student’s body.

The use of restraint must:

  • be limited to such force as is reasonable to address an emergency,
  • be discontinued when an emergency no longer exists, 
  • be implemented to protect the health and safety of the student and others, and
  • not deprive the student of basic human necessities.

Exceptions

Actions that are not considered restraint include limited physical contact with a student to promote safety (e.g., holding a student’s hand), prevent a potentially harmful action (e.g., running into the street), teach a skill, redirect attention, provide guidance to a location, or provide comfort. Anyone who restrains a student must receive training within 30 school days, if not previously trained in restraint. The training must include prevention and de-escalation techniques, restraint alternatives, accepted practices and standards regarding behavior management.

If an employee restrains a student:

  • a principal or designee must receive notice of the restraint that day,
  • a good faith effort must be made that day to notify the student’s parent(s),
  • written notice to the parent must be placed in the mail or given to the parent within one business day, and
  • the student’s eligibility folder must contain documentation of the use of restraint.

The documentation of the restraint and the parent notice must include the “who, what, when, where and how” of the restraint, a description of the conduct requiring the restraint, and the alternatives and de-escalation attempted.

Time-outs and seclusion

The rules also include limitations on the use of time-out and seclusion. Time-out occurs when a student is separated from other students for a limited period in a setting that is not locked and in which the exit is not physically blocked by furniture, a closed door held shut from the outside, or another inanimate object. 

See also:

Corporal Punishment and Use of Force

Removal/Change of Placement of Students With Disabilities

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Classroom Discipline

Special Education