Seclusion & Restraint

In North Carolina, schools may use seclusion and restraint in limited circumstances, including for safety, self-defense, and when a child’s IEP, Section 504 Plan, or Behavior Intervention Plan provides for the use of seclusion and restraint. When secluding a student, the space must be approved for such use by the school district, monitored by an adult who is able to see and hear the student at all times, appropriately lighted, ventilated, heated, and cooled, and free of objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.

When a child is subjected to seclusion or restraint, school personnel must notify the principal if the restraint resulted in physical injury to the student or if the seclusion exceeded 10 minutes or the amount of time on the student’s behavior intervention plan. Upon notification, the principal must notify the parents. Parents also must receive a written incident report for any use of seclusion or restraint.

For more information about the use of seclusion and restraint, see the North Carolina law governing the issue at


Some common issues that we see arise regarding seclusion and restraint include:


  • Failing to document the seclusion and restraint as required;
  • Failing to notify parents as required;
  • Lack of training of school personnel administering the seclusion or restraint; and
  • Inappropriate and unnecessary use of seclusion and restraint.