Administrative Procedure 363: Physical Containment

Legal References

Education Act: Section 265 Duties of Principal; Part XIII Behaviour, Discipline and Safety; Ontario Regulation 298 Operation of Schools Section 23 Requirements for
Pupils; Guideline - Ontario Schools Code of Conduct P/PPM 144: Bullying Prevention and Intervention, P/PPM 145 Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour, Guideline - Ontario Schools Code of Conduct; Statutory Powers Procedure Act; Youth Criminal Justice Act, Child and Family Services Act; Children’s Law Reform Act; Criminal Code of Canada; PPM 119 Developing and Implementing Equity and Inclusive Education Policies in Ontario Schools (2009); Reg 181/98 Ontario First Nation, Metis and Inuit Education Policy Framework 2007; Bill 157 Keeping Our Kids Safe at School; Ontario Human Rights Code; Occupational Health & Safety Act as amended June 15, 2010; Child and Family Services Act

Related References

1. Circumstances for Physical Intervention

1.1 Physical restraint is the option of last resort when intervening with a student who has lost self-control and/or presents a safety risk to self or others.
1.2 This administrative procedure details the circumstances under which physical intervention techniques may be used. It also describes the appropriate techniques to be used.

2. Procedures

2.1 Prevention and Proactive Strategies

2.1.1 In addition to effective instructional practices, staff members will use ethical and validated interventions in dealing with maladaptive behaviour.
Behaviours that threaten the safety of the student and/or others, and or significantly infringe upon the rights of others are defined as maladaptive. Staff members must prudently and humanely use behavioural management skills and strategies such as:
      1. Setting and stating reasonable expectations and rules;
      2. Re-arranging the classroom;
      3. Modeling;
      4. Cueing, signalling;
      5. Planned ignoring;
      6. Redirecting;
      7. Positive reinforcement and attention;
      8. Proximity control;
      9. Mild and private reprimands;
      10. Conferencing (student/parents or guardians);
      11. Contracting;
      12. Appropriate class merit and demerit systems (i.e. Token Economy);
      13. Disciplinary referrals to the office;
      14. Admittance to STRIVE caseload; and
      15. Team Meeting re: Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP).
2.1.2 School teams are at all times engaged in at least one of the following phases of the Behaviour Management Systems cycle:
      1. Information gathering;
      2. Planning;
      3. Action; and
      4. Review and debriefing.
2.1.3 When routine behavioural management practices, accompanied by reinforcement for desired behaviours, are insufficient to elicit and maintain behavioural goals, school teams need to develop intervention plans that may include the planned use of the following procedures:
      1. Timeout-breaks;
      2. Physical containment (employing Behaviour Management Systems techniques); and
      3. Exclusion from school.
2.1.4 At this point, referral to an outside agency may be considered (i.e. Children’s Aid Society, school-based mental health workers, police services, Huron
Perth Centre for Youth and Children, etc.).

2.1.5 More intrusive interactions are used only after less intrusive ones have failed. The least intrusive measure is always employed.

2.2 Use of Physical Intervention

2.2.1 Physical intervention may be necessary when safety is an issue and a student has clearly demonstrated a lack of ability to control her/himself by:
      1. Physically assaulting another person; or
      2. Deliberately attempting to incur self-injury. The safety of the student is secured or the student is removed from a source of danger either through the application of physical containment or the use of emergency personnel.
2.2.2 Physical interventions are short-term strategies for safety purposes only.

2.2.3 Physical containment involves direct physical contact between a student and staff member if the student poses an immediate risk to her/himself or others.
This procedure may be part of a planned behavioural intervention with informed consent (as reflected in the Individual Education Plan), or as a spontaneous response to a crisis situation. It is not a form of punishment.

2.2.4 Physical containment is only to be used by appropriately trained staff. The only district-endorsed training program is the Behaviour Management Systems (BMS) program. Only BMS sanctioned strategies are to be used.

2.2.5 For students identified as exceptional pupils under the category of Behaviour, the Individual Education Plan (IEP) of a student would identify physical
containment as a strategy for addressing aggressive behaviours that threaten the safety of the student and/or others. In this case, a Safety Plan must also
be developed.

2.2.6 The Behaviour Management Systems program is a safe, non-harmful behaviour management system designed to aid staff members in maintaining the best possible care, safety and security for agitated individuals or individuals in crisis, even during their most violent moments.

2.2.7 Physical containment is used only as a last resort when a person is a danger to self or others. This involves the use of safe, non-harmful small student (for students below chest height of the staff member) and larger student containments to safely control an individual until he/she can regain control of
his/her behaviour. These containments follow a progression of steps, and if a student becomes regulated at an early step, then the containment would stop
at that point.

2.2.8 Physical containment is a behavioural intervention or management procedure that involves the direct restriction of a student’s movements by applying
appropriate force to his/her body. Physical containment should be distinguished from other management strategies such as physical prompts guidance.

2.2.9 It is important to note that physical restraint has the potential to cause bodily harm to students and/or staff, and as a result the following guidelines must be followed:
      1. Physical containment is employed only to ensure safety. At no time shall physical restraint or contact be used to threaten, punish or discipline a student.
      2. The student’s peers will not be directly involved in the employment of the physical containment.
      3. Physical containment may be used in a crisis situation:
        1. When less intrusive measures have failed;
        2. As part of a comprehensive behavioural management program; and
        3. To prevent self-abusive or aggressive behaviour in students which may harm themselves or others.
      4. Staff members will maintain neutral affect throughout the containment process.
      5. As part of BMS, every opportunity should be provided for the student to control his/her own behaviour prior to physical intervention. To ensure this, the following BMS techniques should be used. Staff should:
        1. Control their own emotions first;
        2. Verbally instruct the student to desist from the specific behaviour and to engage in appropriate behaviour; and
        3. Remind the student of expectations for behaviour.
      6. If the behaviour escalates, the following options must be considered, relative to the age, size, intelligence, maturity and history of the student:
        1. Call for assistance (an urgent message for assistance may be delivered by a student during a crisis situation);
        2. Remove students and/or staff who may be potential victims;
        3. Remove objects that may cause bodily injury;
        4. Inform the school intervention/crisis team;
        5. Contact parent(s)/guardian(s);
        6. Contact police if necessary;
        7. Monitor the student at all times; and
        8. Use physical containment as a last resort.
      7. Care should be taken to provide for the safety and dignity of the student before, during, and after the behavioural episode.

2.3 Documentation

2.3.1 A BMS Safety Plan Form 363A must be completed for each student for whom physical containment is considered a necessary strategy in the student’s
overall behaviour management plan.

2.3.2 After a crisis episode in which physical containment is used, Incident Report: Use of Physical Containment Form 363B, describing the antecedents,
aggressive responses and outcomes will be completed by staff involved.

2.3.3 Form 363B Incident Report: Use of Physical Containment should be completed as soon as possible after the incident (within twenty-four hours) to
ensure pertinent information is not forgotten. Be concise and factual.

2.3.4 Incident Report 363B must be faxed to the Superintendent of Education – Learning Services within 24 hours.

2.3.5 Principals are to ensure that this report will be placed in the student’s O.S.R. A copy shall be provided to the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) by the
principal or designate.

2.3.6 Depending upon the nature of the incident, other forms may be required. These forms shall be completed within twenty-four (24) hours and filed
according to the distribution direction.

2.3.7 Principals are required to sign this form to indicate that Review and Debriefing with staff has taken place.

2.3.8 Appendix A, Incident Reporting Table, indicates where an Incident Report is necessary for all situations.

2.4 Review and Debriefing

2.4.1 All behaviour incidents place stress on both educators and students. Debriefing should be provided for the student after he/she has emotionally and physically settled and become rational. This phase of tension reduction and therapeutic rapport will involve a problem-solving approach to identify alternative actions that the student could use.

        • Control – How can we support you in regaining control? What do you need to feel calm?
        • Orient – Tell me what happened in your own words. Record step-by-step their report (seek to understand the triggers).
        • Patterns – Help the student identify their own patterns of behaviour (timeline, flowchart, 5-point scale).
        • Investigate – Identify the supports that will be provided to support the student in finding alternative behaviours.
        • Negotiate – Identify how you will teach the new skills to the student. Establish an agreement/contract.
        • Give – Provide support and encouragement to the student. Do not focus on the behaviours of the past as this may be reinforcing.

2.4.2 Debriefing should be provided for students who witness a physical containment. For students, this may involve assurances that they and the student in crisis are safe.

        • Control – Determine that everyone is feeling calm.
        • Orient – Take time to collect the summary of events from the witnesses (journals, oral dialogue, and pictures).
        • Patterns – Discuss patterns of behaviour of the individual student and the witnesses’ patterns of behaviour in response. Seek to identify triggers,
          signals for students to leave the area when feeling unsafe, etc.
        • Investigate – Provide students with strategies to deal with their own level of concern or discomfort – visual supports, emotional scales or hand signals, etc.
        • Negotiate – Establish a plan for indicating that behaviour is increasing, that students need to leave the area.
        • Give – Encourage and support students to talk about their concerns and to support their peer in returning to a welcoming classroom.

2.4.3 Review and Debriefing, Behaviour Management Systems Debriefing Guide Form 363C, should be provided for staff who have been part of or witness to
the containment procedure. For the school team, including all classroom staff, this will involve reflections about what did and did not work well during the
intervention, with subsequent change to the intervention plan.

        • Control – What can staff members do after the crisis to ensure that they have calmed and have “cooled off.” Facilitate opportunities for staff to calm.
        • Orient – Prioritize the behaviour that is most important to address, and define the target behaviour in concrete terms. Describe specifically and objectively what is being done, who is doing it, to whom it is being done, where, and when it is being done. Seek to understand the precipitating factors. Record the statement of the staff members recounting the event.
        • Patterns – Identify patterns of staff and student responses. How will you gather data in the future? Consider for discussion – physical structure, scheduling, task demands, and communication issues.
        • Investigate – Look for alternatives for the function of the behaviour. Engage system and local agency supports.
        • Negotiate – Develop and/or revise a behaviour support and intervention plan. Behaviours (skill building): what new skills will be taught to replace
          the challenging behaviour, and consequences (staff response)? How will staff respond in order to support positive behaviour and reduce the
          challenging behaviour? Agree to the changes as set out in the plan for future interventions.

2.4.4 Following the Review and Debriefing Phase, school teams will often return to the Information Gathering and Planning phases of the Behaviour Management Systems cycle.

Please see AP 363 for Appendix A - Incident Reporting Table and Forms
Revised September 2016