Toolbox Tuesday!! A case of physical restraint….

First, a promotional message!  Next Tuesday, January 12, our firm is offering a webinar that will address some of the legal issues that arise in connection with manifestation determinations and other legal requirements under IDEA.  Here are the specifics:

Date and Time: Tuesday, January 12, 2022: 10:00a.m.
Presenters: Jennifer Carroll and Lindy French

I’m sure that Jennifer and Lindy will explain why they will be discussing the theft of an ATV.  Loyal Daily Dawg Readers may remember our discussion of that issue last year!  This is sure to be a lively and practical session, as well as an easy and cost effective way for you to get training for your staff. Sign up at

Now, for the Toolbox Tuesday content: The parent of an elementary aged student with mental impairments sued the assistant principal and two teachers alleging that they “forcefully and brutally physically assaulted” the girl.  The federal court in South Carolina dismissed all claims, citing the affidavits filed by the educators. 

In the Toolbox training that our firm offers we suggest that physical restraint is something that should not be included in a student’s BIP. BIPs are supposed to identify the positive behavior interventions, supports, and strategies that the school will use to teach, encourage, and support behavior improvement.  Physical restraint does not fit that description.  Physical restraint is an unfortunate but necessary response to an emergency.  The court’s opinion in this case does not mention if the student had a BIP, but it’s likely that she did since she had a history of disruptive  and violent behavior.  That’s what the A.P. and teachers included in their affidavits. They stated that they felt that restraint was necessary for the student’s own safety, as it looked like she was about to leave the building.  The student’s history of non-compliant and disruptive behavior was a factor, leading the educators to believe that they needed to act forcefully to prevent greater harm.  The court found that belief to be reasonable under the circumstances.

It’s important for educators to thoroughly document the “what, where, who, when, why, and how” when restraint is used. The documentation should address the before, the during, and the after.  There should also be follow up every time restraint is used. What can we do proactively to prevent the need to lay hands on the child in a forceful way? 

This one is Taylor v. Aiken County School District, decided by the federal court in South Carolina on September 10, 2021. It’s reported on Special Ed Connection at 79 IDELR 154.


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Tomorrow: that Michigan school shooting