North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Policy 308: Use of Physical Restraint or Seclusion
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Adopted: December 11, 2018
Revised: February 25, 2020


The Board of Education is committed to respecting each student’s right to an educational program and to ensure that each and every intervention used to support a student is carried out in a manner that maintains the student’s dignity and the safety of all involved.

Support for a student who has difficulty self-regulating physically aggressive behaviour shall be focused on employing preventative measures that minimize the use of physical restraint and/or seclusion.

The use of physical restraint and/or seclusion shall occur only in exceptional circumstances in which it is determined that there exists an imminent risk of harm or injury to self or other. The following terms shall guide practice in relation to its use:

Physical Guidance involves gently guiding or physically leading a student to support the teaching of a skill, redirecting attention and/or appropriately providing comfort. It does not constitute physical restraint.

Physical Escort/Assistance involves temporary, physical contact that may include gently holding a student’s hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back, for the purpose of accompanying a student to a safe location. Physical escort/assistance may be used to support a student who is of elementary age (4 to 13 years old) and is exhibiting anxiety at the point of separation from the parent(s)/guardian(s) at school. In these instances, the use of physical escort/assistance shall be planned in advance in consultation with the child’s parent(s)/guardian(s).

Physical Restraint involves restricting a student’s freedom of movement or mobility.

It shall only be used:
  • in order to ensure the safe relocation of students and/or school personnel from a location if a student is interfering or blocking access to the only available exit;
  • if a student is in the process of actively pursuing others in a manner that constitutes an imminent risk of harm to other students and/or school personnel, and a safe barrier or perimeter cannot be established between the student and others who are at risk;
  • if a student is engaging in self injurious behaviour that constitutes an imminent risk of harm to self.

Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room, enclosure or space in which the student is physically prevented from leaving.

It shall only be used:
  • to safely secure a location, when a student has escalated to a point that constitutes an imminent risk of harm to self or others that serves as a barrier or perimeter to ensure the safety of others who have been relocated from the area.

Seclusion is not the use of a separate, pre-designated location that a student’s support team has identified as a supportive space to assist with self-regulation. In such instances, a positive behaviour support plan shall be in place outlining the use of the pre-designated space and the strategies being used to encourage a student to self-select this location to support self-regulation.

Administrative Procedures