Proposed amendments to Massachusetts physical restraint regulation 603 CMR 46.00 [PDF] were adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Education on December 16, 2014 and take effect on January 1, 2016.

The revised regulations are in regard to physical restraint regulations in public education programs, which mean public schools, charter schools, virtual schools, collaborative education programs, and special education schools. Highlights of the newly approved amendments include:
  • Physical restraint shall only be used in an emergency procedure and as a last resort except when a student’s behavior poses a threat of assault or imminent, serious, physical harm to self or others and the student is not responsive to verbal directives or other lawful and less intrusive behavior interventions, or such interventions are deemed to be inappropriate under the circumstances.
  • Floor restraints including prone restraints shall be prohibited unless the staff member administering the restraint has received in-depth training and in the judgment of the trained staff member such method is required to provide safety for the student or others present.
  • Restraints lasting longer than 20 minutes require the approval of the school principal. 
Training requirements for staff include:
  • Training shall occur within the first month of each school year and, for all employees hired after the school year begins, within the first month of their employment. The training shall include:
  • The role of the student, family and staff in preventing restraints.
  • The school’s restraint and prevention and behavior support policy and procedures.
  • Interventions that may preclude the need for restraint, including de-escalation of problematic behaviors and other alternative to restraint in emergency situations.
  • When behavior presents an emergency that requires physical restraint, the types of permitted physical restraints and related safety considerations including information regarding the increased risk of injury to a student when any restraint is used, particularly for an extended period of time.
  • Administering physical restraint in accordance with medical/psychological limitations, or known or suspected trauma history and any IEP applicable to the student.
  • Identification of program staff who have received in-depth training in the use of physical restraint.

The principal shall identify staff that is authorized to serve as a school-side resource assist to ensure proper administration of physical restraint. Such staff must participate in in-depth training that is competency-based, be at least 16 hours in length with refresher training occurring annually thereafter. This in-depth training shall consist of:
  • Appropriate procedures for preventing the use of physical restraint, including de-escalation or problematic behavior, relationship building and use of alternatives to restraint.
  • A description and identification of specific dangerous behaviors on the part of the student  that may lead to the use of physical restraint and methods for evaluating the risk of harm in individual situations in order to determine whether the restraint was warranted.
  • The simulated experience of administering and receiving physical restraint, instruction regarding the effect(s) on the person being restrained, and monitoring physical signs of distress and obtaining medical assistance.
  • Instruction regarding documentation and reporting requirements and investigation of injuries and complaints.
  • Demonstration by participants of proficiency in administering physical restraint.
  • Instruction regarding the impact of physical restraint on the student and family.

CPI Training Can Help You Comply With the Rules
Schools throughout the US use our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program because it focuses on prevention, de-escalation techniques, and other alternatives to restraint. Our training identifies underlying causes of student behaviors, and how staff and student behaviors affect each other. The program also includes evaluating risk of harm and signs of distress; documenting incidents; and safer, less restrictive physical interventions to be used only as a last resort.

Get details [PDF] on how Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training can help you comply with the regulations.

How to Get Training
We can bring the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program on-site to your school, or you can attend training in one of more than 150 public locations throughout the US.
Advanced Course
If you’re already a Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Certified Instructor, you can share strategies with your staff from our advanced course, Trauma-Informed Care: Implications for CPI's Crisis Development ModelSM. This course dives deep into the influence of trauma on behavior and offers additional strategies to help you better serve individuals who have experienced traumatic events. Locate an upcoming public program or have us bring the training to you.
More Resources
Get helpful hints for crisis intervention and learn about CPI training and restraint reduction.