California Assembly Bill 2657, concerning the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, became law on September 30, 2018.
This bill authorizes educational providers, as defined, to use behavioral restraints, which include physical and mechanical restraints, or seclusion, as defined, only to control behavior that poses a clear and present danger of serious physical harm to the pupil or others that cannot be immediately prevented by a response that is less restrictive, and if other specified conditions are met.
The bill prohibits educational providers from using a behavioral restraint or seclusion in certain circumstances, including, but not limited to, using seclusion or a behavioral restraint for the purpose of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation, and would prohibit the use of certain restraint and seclusion techniques.
Key sections of the Bill include:
(a) While it is appropriate to intervene in an emergency to prevent a student from imminent risk of serious physical self-harm or harm of others, restraint and seclusion are dangerous interventions, with certain known practices posing a great risk to child health and safety.

(b) United States Department of Education guidelines specify that the use of restraint and seclusion must be consistent with the child’s right to be treated with dignity and to be free from abuse.

(c) Restraint and seclusion should only be used as a safety measure of last resort and should never be used as punishment or discipline or for staff convenience.

(d) Restraint and seclusion may cause serious injury or long-lasting trauma and death, even when done safely and correctly.

(e) There is no evidence that restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of those techniques.

(f) Students with disabilities and students of color, especially African American boys, are disproportionately subject to restraint and seclusion.

(g) Well-established California law already regulates restraint techniques in a number of settings, including general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric health facilities, crisis stabilization units, community treatment facilities, group homes, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, community care facilities, and mental health rehabilitation centers. These minimal protections should be provided to all students in schools.

(h) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that schools foster learning in a safe and healthy environment and provide adequate safeguards to prevent harm, and even death, to children in school.
CPI Training Can Help Your School Comply With the Statute
CPI offers training and resources to help schools meet legislative mandates like the policy requirements set forth in the California Bill. Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training equips staff with techniques for both the prevention of and the safe use of restraint. Our train-the-trainer program helps staff identify underlying causes of student behaviors, and how staff and student behaviors affect each other. The program also emphasizes:
  • Evaluating risk of harm and signs of distress.
  • Documenting incidents.
  • Safer, less restrictive holding skills to be used only as a last resort.
  • Behavioral supports.
  • Implementing evidence-based practices.
How to Get Training
We can bring the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program onsite to your school, or you can attend training in one of more than 170 public locations throughout the US.
More Resources

Get helpful hints for crisis intervention and learn about CPI training and restraint reduction.