On March 19, 2012, Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 353 (now 2011 Wisconsin Act 125), which guides the use of seclusion and physical restraint on pupils in public schools. The legislation, which becomes effective September 1, 2012, requires all Wisconsin public school employees who use physical restraint to be trained in its safe use.

The legislation is intended to protect students from harmful and life-threatening seclusion and restraint practices. The law outlines that restraint be used only when a pupil's behavior presents a clear, present, and immediate risk to the physical safety of the pupil or others, and only when it is the least restrictive intervention available. The legislation also states that:

  • High-risk positions are prohibited.
  • Training on the use of restraint must include prevention and de-escalation techniques, and must provide alternatives to the use of restraint.
  • The training should include information on evaluating risk of harm to determine whether physical restraint is warranted; monitoring for signs of distress; and documentation.
  • Each trainee must demonstrate proficiency in administering physical restraint.

The law is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which has allocated funds to train school staff on the new procedures. State Superintendent Tony Evers commented in a press release [PDF]: “To reinforce my commitment to making this law work for Wisconsin, I am allocating federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) discretionary funds to assist districts in meeting the training requirements in the law so that school staff understand the safe use of restraint, and ideally, will be able to head off a crisis situation so that restraint or seclusion is not needed. The department also will provide ongoing technical assistance to school districts to ensure full implementation of this important law.”

Wisconsin-Based CPI Can Help!
Since 1980, more than 8 million professionals—including tens of thousands of educators—have participated in CPI's nationally recognized training programs and learned safe, nonharmful strategies for de-escalating challenging behavior. CPI's Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training empowers educators with the skills and confidence to safely manage students' acting-out behaviors at the earliest possible stage.

Our training is flexible and can be tailored to the unique needs of your school. With our "train-the-trainer" option, you'll receive the best return on investment by certifying select staff to teach the program to other educators in your school or district on a continuing basis. In addition, CPI can help coordinate training for all the schools in your district.

CPI offers training in more than 150 locations throughout the US and Canada, and a cost-effective, on-site training option is also available. CPI has several programs scheduled in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.

Read Wisconsin Act 125.