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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XLVIII
EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1003
PUBLIC K-12 EDUCATION
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F.S. 1003.573
1003.573 Seclusion and restraint of students with disabilities in public schools.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Crisis intervention plan” means an individualized action plan for school personnel to implement when a student exhibits dangerous behavior that may lead to imminent risk of serious injury.
(b) “Imminent risk of serious injury” means the threat posed by dangerous behavior that may cause serious physical harm to self or others.
(c) “Restraint” means the use of a mechanical or physical restraint.
1. “Mechanical restraint” means the use of a device that restricts a student’s freedom of movement. The term does not include the use of devices prescribed or recommended by physical or behavioral health professionals when used for indicated purposes.
2. “Physical restraint” means the use of manual restraint techniques that involve significant physical force applied by a teacher or other staff member to restrict the movement of all or part of a student’s body. The term does not include briefly holding a student in order to calm or comfort the student or physically escorting a student to a safe location.
(d) “Positive behavior interventions and supports” means the use of behavioral interventions to prevent dangerous behaviors that may cause serious physical harm to the student or others.
(e) “Seclusion” means the involuntary confinement of a student in a room or area alone and preventing the student from leaving the room or area. The term does not include time-out used as a behavior management technique intended to calm a student.
(f) “Student” means a child with an individual education plan enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12 in a school, as defined in s. 1003.01(2), or the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. The term does not include students in prekindergarten, students who reside in residential care facilities under s. 1003.58, or students participating in a Department of Juvenile Justice education program under s. 1003.52.
(2) SECLUSION.Each school district shall prohibit school personnel from using seclusion.
(3) RESTRAINT.
(a) Authorized school personnel may use restraint only when all positive behavior interventions and supports have been exhausted. Restraint may be used only when there is an imminent risk of serious injury and shall be discontinued as soon as the threat posed by the dangerous behavior has dissipated. Techniques or devices such as straightjackets, zip ties, handcuffs, or tie downs may not be used in ways that may obstruct or restrict breathing or blood flow or that place a student in a facedown position with the student’s hands restrained behind the student’s back. Restraint techniques may not be used to inflict pain to induce compliance.
(b) Notwithstanding the authority provided in s. 1003.32, restraint shall be used only to protect the safety of students, school personnel, or others and may not be used for student discipline or to correct student noncompliance.
(c) The degree of force applied during physical restraint must be only that degree of force necessary to protect the student or others from imminent risk of serious injury.
(4) SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.
(a) Each school district shall adopt positive behavior interventions and supports and identify all school personnel authorized to use the interventions and supports. Each school district shall develop policies and procedures consistent with this section and that govern the following:
1. Incident-reporting procedures.
2. Data collection and monitoring, including when, where, and why students are restrained and the frequency of occurrences of such restraint.
3. Monitoring and reporting of data collected.
4. Training programs and procedures relating to restraint as described in subsection (3).
5. The district’s plan for selecting personnel to be trained pursuant to this subsection.
6. The district’s plan for reducing the use of restraint, particularly in settings in which it occurs frequently or with students who are restrained repeatedly. The plan must include a goal for reducing the use of restraint and must include activities, skills, and resources needed to achieve that goal. Activities may include, but are not limited to:
a. Additional training in positive behavior interventions and supports.
b. Parental involvement.
c. Data review.
d. Updates of students’ functional behavioral analysis and positive behavior intervention plans.
e. Additional student evaluations.
f. Debriefing with staff.
g. Use of schoolwide positive behavior support.
h. Changes to the school environment.
i. Analysis of data to determine trends.
j. Ongoing reduction of the use of restraint.
(b) Any revisions a school district makes to its policies and procedures pursuant to this section must be filed with the bureau chief of the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services within 90 days after the revision.
(c) At the beginning of each school year, each school district shall publicly post its policies and procedures on positive behavior interventions and supports as adopted by the school district.
(5) TRAINING.Each school district shall provide training to all school personnel authorized to use positive behavior interventions and supports pursuant to school district policy. Training shall be provided annually and must include:
(a) The use of positive behavior interventions and supports.
(b) Risk assessment procedures to identify when restraint may be used.
(c) Examples of when positive behavior interventions and support techniques have failed to reduce the imminent risk of serious injury.
(d) Examples of safe and appropriate restraint techniques and how to use these techniques with multiple staff members working as a team.
(e) Instruction in the district’s documentation and reporting requirements.
(f) Procedures to identify and deal with possible medical emergencies arising during the use of restraint.
(g) Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Each school district shall publish the procedures for the training required under this subsection in the district’s special policies and procedures manual.

(6) CRISIS INTERVENTION PLAN.
(a) Upon the second time a student is restrained during a semester, the school shall develop a crisis intervention plan for the student. The crisis intervention plan shall be developed by a team comprised of the student’s parent or guardian, school personnel, and applicable physical and behavioral health professionals.
(b) The crisis intervention plan must include:
1. Specific positive behavior interventions and supports to use in response to dangerous behaviors that create a threat of imminent risk of serious injury.
2. Known physical and behavioral health concerns that will limit the use of restraint for the student.
3. A timetable for the review and, if necessary, revision of the crisis intervention plan.
(c) The school must provide a copy of the crisis intervention plan to the student’s parent or guardian.
(7) DOCUMENTATION AND REPORTING.
(a) A school shall prepare an incident report within 24 hours after a student is released from restraint. If the student’s release occurs on a day before the school closes for the weekend, a holiday, or another reason, the incident report must be completed by the end of the school day on the day the school reopens.
(b) The following must be included in the incident report:
1. The name of the student restrained.
2. The age, grade, ethnicity, and disability of the student restrained.
3. The date and time of the event and the duration of the restraint.
4. The location at which the restraint occurred.
5. A description of the type of restraint used in terms established by the department.
6. The name of the person using or assisting in the restraint of the student and the date the person was last trained in the use of positive behavior interventions and supports.
7. The name of any nonstudent who was present to witness the restraint.
8. A description of the incident, including all of the following:
a. The context in which the restraint occurred.
b. The student’s behavior leading up to and precipitating the decision to use restraint, including an indication as to why there was an imminent risk of serious injury to the student or others.
c. The positive behavior interventions and supports used to prevent and de-escalate the behavior.
d. What occurred with the student immediately after the termination of the restraint.
e. Any injuries, visible marks, or possible medical emergencies that may have occurred during the restraint, documented according to district policies.
f. Evidence of steps taken to notify the student’s parent or guardian.
g. The date the crisis intervention plan was last reviewed and whether changes were recommended.
(c) A school shall notify the parent or guardian of a student each time restraint is used. Such notification must be in writing and provided before the end of the school day on which the restraint occurs. Reasonable efforts must also be taken to notify the parent or guardian by telephone or e-mail, or both, and these efforts must be documented. The school shall obtain, and keep in its records, the parent’s or guardian’s signed acknowledgment that he or she was notified of his or her child’s restraint.
(d) A school shall also provide the parent or guardian with the completed incident report in writing by mail within 3 school days after a student was restrained. The school shall obtain, and keep in its records, the parent’s or guardian’s signed acknowledgment that he or she received a copy of the incident report.
(8) MONITORING.
(a) The use of restraint on students shall be monitored at the classroom, building, district, and state levels.
(b) Any documentation prepared by a school pursuant to subsection (7) shall be provided to the school principal, the district director of Exceptional Student Education, and the bureau chief of the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services electronically each month that the school is in session.
(c) The department shall maintain aggregate data of incidents of restraint and disaggregate the data for analysis by county, school, student exceptionality, and other variables, including the type and method of restraint used. This information shall be updated monthly, deidentified, and made available to the public through the department’s website no later than October 1, 2021.
(d) The department shall establish standards for documenting, reporting, and monitoring the incident reports related to the use of restraint. These standards shall be provided to school districts.
History.s. 4, ch. 2010-224; s. 23, ch. 2011-175; s. 1, ch. 2021-140.