PTA believes that all students are entitled to educational environments, which are supportive and free from abuse, assault, injury, trauma and risk to life.
The use of inappropriate restraint and seclusion methods by untrained school personnel has resulted in the assault, injury, trauma and—in some cases—death of children or youth in public schools. Children/youth at risk (in particular, children/youth with disabilities and children/youth of color) are disproportionately subjected to inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion by untrained school personnel.
PTA supports policies and laws requiring school personnel be trained in evidence-based crisis intervention techniques, including in the use of positive interventions and de-escalation techniques that do not involve physically handling students. PTA believes that school personnel shall not use mechanical and/or chemical restraints on any student.
PTA supports legislation, regulations, policies and programs that emphasize the use of positive or non-aversive interventions. Additionally, PTA supports legislation, regulations, policies and programs that prohibit the use of mechanical*, pharmacological**, prone (lying face down) and supine (lying face up) restraints and any restraints that restrict breathing or blood flow to the brain. We also support legislation, regulations, policies and programs that prohibit the use of seclusion in schools.
PTA believes the use of restraint practices shall only be used as a last resort in emergency*** situations, not as a substitute for comprehensive school-wide supports and accommodations; and restraint interventions shall cease as soon as the immediate danger of physical harm ceases to exist.
PTA advocates for the engagement of parents/guardians of all children who may be subject to restraint and seclusion in the decision-making process, not only in an IEP or other education meeting, but also in every aspect of a student’s education with regard to the use of emergency restraint and seclusion. If a student is restrained or secluded, details of the incident should be reported to the parent or guardian by close of business on the day of the incident.
National PTA also encourages local and state educational agencies to regularly review their policies and practices around restraint and seclusion to ensure such practices are being utilized in a way that is safe and equitably applied.
* Mechanical Restraints are defined as the restraint of a person by the application of a device to the person's body, or a limb of the person, to restrict the person's movement.
** Pharmacological Restraints are defined as the use of pharmaceutical products to control behaviors and actions and/or restrict the freedom of movement, when the purpose in the situation is not to treat an identified medical or psychiatric condition.
*** Emergency is defined as an unanticipated and already occurring event that is placing the individual or others in imminent danger of physical harm.
Adopted March 2022 by the 2022 National PTA Board of Directors
Per the National PTA Governance Policy Manual, this position statement will be reviewed in 2027.