Smithfield Public Schools is committed to ensuring that each student enrolled within its schools shall be treated with dignity and be free from unreasonable use of physical restraint, including freedom from prone restraint as a crisis intervention. Physical Restraint should only be used for the purpose of preventing harm or injury to the student or others. A physical restraint must not include procedures that intentionally cause pain, injury, trauma or humiliation. Only the least intrusive physical interaction needed to adequately protect the child or others shall be used. Such physical restraint shall be terminated as soon as the need for protection has ended. Furthermore, physical restraint should not be used for the purpose of changing behavior in situations where no protection from harm or injury is needed.

Smithfield Public Schools has established this policy and procedures for the purposes stated within and to comply with the Physical Restraint Regulations promulgated by the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education and Rhode Island General Law 42-158-1, Freedom from Prone Restraint Act.

Smithfield Public Schools employs Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) as its methodology of intervention to support students during crisis situations. Consistent with TCI, those methods should be used prior to the use of physical restraint. The intent of these procedures is to ensure that every student participating in the Smithfield Public Schools is free from unreasonable and unnecessary physical restraint and that such an intervention is used only in situations to avert harm or injury.

Emergency Situations: Consistent with RI Physical Restraint Regulations (2002), the procedure outlined in this document shall not create a barrier in maintaining a safe school environment and do not limit the ability of school personnel or their agents from using reasonable force to protect students other persons or themselves from imminent serious physical harm.


Instructional Physical Guidance - A teaching technique that involves physical contact between the adult/supervisory person and the child. This enables the child to learn or model the physical movement necessary for the development of the desired competency. Example: Hand over hand guidance in instructing a child in a writing technique.

Physical Escort - Touching or holding a student without the use of force for the purpose of directing the student.

Physical Restraint - The use of bodily force to limit a student’s freedom of movement.

Extended Restraint - A physical restraint, the duration of which is more than twenty (20) minutes. Extended restraints increase the risk of injury and, therefore require additional written documentation as described in this policy.

Prone restraint - A restraint or hold that limits or controls the movement or normal functioning of any portion, or all, of an individual’s body while the individual is in a face-down position. Prone restraint does not include the temporary controlling of an individual in a prone position while transitioning to an alternative, safer form of restraint. (Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education and Rhode Island General Law 42-158-1, Freedom from Prone Restraint Act.)

School Working Day - Any day or partial day that students are in attendance at the public education program for instructional purposes.


The School Department shall determine a time and method to provide all staff with training regarding the restraint policy. Such training shall occur within the first month of each school year and, for employees hired after the school year commences, within a month of their employment. Training shall include information on the following:

1. The program’s restraint policy.

2. Interventions may preclude the need for restraint, including de-escalation of problematic behaviors.

3. Types of restraints and related safety considerations, including information regarding the increased risk of injury to a student when an extended restraint is used.

4. Administering physical restraint in accordance with known medical or psychological limitations and/or behavioral intervention plans applicable to an individual student.

5. At the beginning of each school year, the principal of each school and/or his/her designee shall identify staff that are authorized to serve as a school-wide resource to assist in ensuring proper administration of physical restraint and crisis interventions.

Methods for Promoting Safety and Preventing Violence

Smithfield Public Schools employs the following strategies:

  • Social and Emotional Learning for All Students: Positive behavioral support systems building wide

  • Tier 1, 2, 3 strategies as appropriate to individual school stages of implementation

  • Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA): Functional Behavioral Assessments are conducted by qualified personnel consistent with MTSS practices and/or RI Special Education Regulations

  • Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIP): Behavioral Intervention Plans are developed in response to Functional Behavioral Assessments consistent with MTSS practices and/or RI Special Education Regulations. Specific building-based programs

Crisis Intervention: De-escalation Procedures

Despite the use of positive behavioral supports and interventions, there may be instances when the behavior of one or more students escalates beyond the student’s immediate control, creating danger of violence or self-injury. The first course of action should be the application of specific intervention strategies designed to diffuse the situation by

(1) Addressing individual student emotional needs and

(2) de-escalating the immediate behavior.

The intent of de-escalation is to restore a student’s capacity to control the immediate impulse/behavior and redirect him or her toward a safer or more constructive resolution.

In the event of student behavior representing a crisis, the following de-escalation strategies should be employed: Identify student behavior level and employ appropriate staff response utilizing appropriate verbal, nonverbal, and paraverbal communication strategies (i.e., identifying precipitating factors of behaviors, limit setting, empathetic listening, respecting personal space, and utilizing appropriate body language)

Crisis Intervention: Physical Restraint Restraint Procedures

Physical restraint is used only in the following circumstances:

  • non-physical interventions were not or would not be effective; and

  • the student’s behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to self and/or others; and, where applicable,

  • a behavioral intervention plan is already developed for the student and the plan has been fully implemented as specified.

Smithfield Public Schools limits the use of such force to the amount and duration necessary and reasonable to protect a student or another member of the school community from assault or imminent, serious physical harm.

In the event that physical restraint becomes necessary:

1. Every attempt should be made to alert additional trained school personnel for observation or assistance.

2. Only the safest physical restraint methods are to be used.

3. Every effort should be made to isolate the restraint situation, to avoid prolonging or escalating the situation.

4. If the duration of a physical restraint is prolonged, or student becomes deliberately and dangerously assaultive, the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) must be notified to remove him/her from school as soon as possible to avoid further danger. Police may also be notified.

5. If the student exhibits suicidal or homicidal indicators, the district or school clinical personnel must be contacted for further intervention.

6. The student should be released slowly from the restraint, in stages, to ensure that she/he has regained self-control and no longer presents an apparent danger.

7. Any injury occurring during a restraint must be treated immediately by the appropriate medical personnel. Injuries will be recorded on the physical restraint report form.

8. Follow-up steps include parent notification, review of restraint with student, staff involved and the appropriate administrator, and consideration of further action, including preventive behavioral interventions. Every attempt will be made to notify parents/guardians as soon as possible during the day of the occurrence with the understanding that the RI Physical Restraint Regulations allow for two calendar days after the restraint incident.

Restraint Safety Procedures

The following safety procedures are in effect, consistent with Rhode Island Physical Restraint Regulations effective September 1, 2002 and Rhode Island General Law 42-158-1:

a. Restraint is administered in such a way so as to prevent or minimize physical harm. If, at any time during a physical restraint/crisis intervention, the student demonstrates significant physical distress, the student is released from the restraint immediately, and school staff is directed to take steps to seek medical assistance.

b. Program staff must review and consider any known medical or psychological limitations and/or behavioral intervention plans regarding the use of physical restraint/crisis intervention on an individual student.

c. Restraint is administered in such a way that the student is never at any time prevented from breathing or speaking. During the administration of a restraint, a staff member will continuously monitor the physical status of the student, including skin color and respiration. A restraint ceases immediately upon determination by the staff member administering the restraint that the student is no longer at risk of causing imminent physical harm to him or herself or others.

d. Following the release of a student from a restraint, the following follow-up procedures are implemented:

  • Appropriate staff will review the incident with the student, as appropriate, to address the behavior that precipitated the restraint;

  • The building administrator will review the incident with the staff person(s) who administered the restraint to discuss whether proper restraint procedures were followed and consider whether any follow-up is appropriate for the student and for students who witnessed the incident.

  • The building administrator will review the incident with the student and consider whether any follow-up is appropriate for the student and for students who witness the incident.

  • School personnel will determine whether the student requires a behavioral intervention plan as part of his or her education program, or, if one already exists, whether that plan needs to be modified or adjusted.

Restraint Prohibitions

Physical restraint is prohibited in the following circumstances, consistent with Rhode Island Physical Restraint Regulations (2002) and Rhode Island General Law 42-158-1:

1. As a means of punishment;

2. As an intervention designed to, or likely to cause physical pain;

3. As in any intervention which denies adequate sleep, food, water, shelter, bedding or access to bathroom facilities;

4. As in the use of prone restraint. The use of prone restraint is strictly prohibited by any service provider employed by or under contract with the Smithfield Public Schools to provide support or care, residential support, education, health care, treatment, or direct supervision.

5. As in seclusion, unless under constant surveillance and observation when documented as part of a previously agreed upon written behavioral intervention plan;

6. As in any intervention that precludes adequate supervision of the child;

7. Any intervention which deprives the individual of one or more of his or her senses.

Monitoring and Reporting Instances of the Use of Physical Restraint

As soon as possible, but no later than the next school day, the staff member who administers a physical restraint/crisis intervention submits a written report to the building principal. The building principal will maintain an ongoing written and electronic record of all reported instances of physical restraint. For students with disabilities, the building administrator will send copies of the written report to the Director of Special Education.

Smithfield Public Schools will report incidents of physical restraint as required by RI Physical Restraint Regulations (2002) to the Rhode Island Department of Education annually.

Follow-Up Steps

Follow-up steps include: Review of restraint with student, staff involved and the appropriate administrator; and consideration of further action, including preventative behavioral interventions.

Reporting Violations of this Policy

All persons with knowledge of violations of this policy are to directly and immediately report such violations to the Superintendent of Schools.

Procedures for Investigating Complaints

Complaints regarding restraint practices must be submitted, in writing, to the building administrator within, 5 school days, of receiving said report. The building administrator will notify the Superintendent, investigate the complaint, and respond to the parent/guardian, in writing, within five school days. If the satisfactory resolution of the complaint is not achieved at the building level, the complaint may be submitted to the Superintendent.

ADOPTED: March 7, 2005

REVISED: January 8, 2018