What are the rules regarding restraint and isolation in Washington State public schools?

Washington State law prohibits the use of restraint or isolation in public schools except when it is “reasonably necessary to control spontaneous behavior that poses an imminent likelihood of serious harm.” RCW 28A.600.485.

Any use of restraint or isolation must be closely monitored to prevent harm to the student, and must be stopped as soon as the likelihood of serious harm has ended.

Schools must notify parents any time a student is restrained or isolated at school.

Schools have to try to inform parents verbally within 24 hours of the restraint or isolation. 

Schools also have to send parents written notice of each incident of restraint or isolation within 5 business days of the incident.

This written notice should be translated into the parents’ primary language for parents who do not read or speak English.

The protections and requirements of the law apply to all students, including students with disabilities and without.

You can find the state law on restraint and isolation in public schools in the Revised Code of Washington, at RCW 28A.600.485 at www.leg.wa.gov/LawsAndAgencyRules/

The Washington State Special Education regulations include additional rules relating to the use of restraint and isolation for students receiving special education. You can find those rules in the Washington Administrative Code, at WAC 392-172A, at www.leg.wa.gov/LawsAndAgencyRules.