Reducing Restraint and Seclusion In Schools (RR&SS)

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The Maine Department of Education has partnered with Lives in the Balance to provide free, evidence-based resources to all Maine schools working to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion.



What is Restraint and Seclusion?

The standards and procedures for the use of Restraint and Seclusion in schools are outlined in Maine statute Sec.1. 20-A MRSA §4014"Use of seclusion and restraint and by the Maine Department of Education, Chapter 33 Rule Governing Restraint and Seclusion

“Restraint” at school as refers to immobilizing a student, whether physically or through a mechanical device, or otherwise restricting a student’s ability to move their torso, arms, legs, or head.

“Seclusion” refers to the involuntary confinement of a student in a room or area, from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.

While the statute and rule provide procedures for specific uses of Restraint and Seclusion in schools, the statute also limits the use of "unlawful restraint and seclusion" in that Restraint and Seclusion may be used only if:

  • The student's behavior poses an imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or another person;
  • Less restrictive interventions would be ineffective in stopping imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or another person;
  • The physical restraint or seclusion ends immediately upon the cessation of imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or another person and;
  • The least amount of force necessary is used to protect the student or another person from imminent danger of serious physical injury   

Why Reducing Restraint and Seclusion in Schools is Important:

Restraint and seclusion are primarily deployed in emergent circumstances, as a crisis management intervention, when a student’s behavior is creating unsafe conditions for the student and/or classmates and school staff. While many staff have been trained to believe that restraint and seclusion keep them and students safer, there are no data indicating that this is true. Indeed, the use of these practices can, in and of themselves, create unsafe conditions. Students and staff have been injured during implementation of restraint and seclusion; some students have died. Research shows that the use of restrain and seclusion are not effective in altering a students behavior and that the experience of being restrained and secluded can be traumatizing and cause lasting effects for students.

We do know that there are best practice, proactive, crisis prevention methodologies that can be implemented that support students in not creating escalated and unsafe conditions, thereby dramatically reducing reliance on restraint and seclusion, without compromising the safety of students and staff.

RR&SS Resources:

The Maine Department of Education is partnering with Lives in the Balance, a Maine founded and nationally renowned organization that uses best practice supports for schools seeking to reduce their use of Restraint and Seclusion.

Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) is the evidence-based model of care that helps educators focus on identifying the problems that are causing concerning behaviors in students and solving those problems collaboratively and proactively. The model is a departure from approaches emphasizing the use of consequences to modify concerning behaviors. In families, general and special education schools, inpatient psychiatry units, and residential and juvenile detention facilities, the CPS model has a track record of dramatically improving behavior and dramatically reducing or eliminating discipline referrals, detentions, suspensions, restraints, and seclusions. The CPS model is non-punitive, non-exclusionary, trauma-informed, transdiagnostic, and transcultural. 

Introductory training videos to the CPS model and how it can be used to reduce Restraint and Seclusion in your school: