North Carolina School Restraint Law

§ 115C_390.3. Reasonable force. (See also G.S. 115C_391.1.)

    • School personnel may use reasonable force to control behavior or to remove a person from the scene in those situations when necessary for any of the following reasons:
      • To correct students.
      • To quell a disturbance threatening injury to others.
      • To obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects on the person, or within the control, of a student.
      • For self_defense.
      • For the protection of persons or property.
      • To maintain order on educational property, in the classroom, or at a school-related activity on or off educational property.

No Civil Liability.  Notwithstanding any other law, no officer or employee of the State Board of Education or of a local board of education shall be civilly liable for using reasonable force in conformity with State law, State or local rules, or State or local policies regarding the control, discipline, suspension, and expulsion of students. Furthermore, the burden of proof is on the claimant to show that the amount of force used was not reasonable.

No Administrative Action. No school employee shall be reprimanded or dismissed for acting or failing to act to stop or intervene in an altercation between students if the employee’s actions are consistent with local board policies. Local boards of education shall adopt policies, pursuant to their authority under G.S. 115C_47(18), which provide guidelines for an employee’s response if the employee has personal knowledge or actual notice of an altercation between students.

§ 115C-391.1. Permissible use of seclusion and restraint.

    • Treat all public school students with dignity and respect in the delivery of discipline, use of physical restraints or seclusion, and use of reasonable force as permitted by law.
    • Provide school staff with clear guidelines about what constitutes use of reasonable force permissible in North Carolina public schools.

Definition: Physical restraint means the use of physical force to restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a student’s body.  Physical restraint of students by school personnel shall be considered a reasonable use of force when used in the following circumstances:

    • As reasonably needed to obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous objects on a person or within the control of a person.
    • As reasonably needed to maintain order or prevent or break up a fight.
    • As reasonably needed for self-defense.
    • As reasonably needed to ensure the safety of any student, school employee, volunteer, or other person present, to teach a skill, to calm or comfort a student, or to prevent self-injurious behavior.
    • As reasonably needed to escort a student safely from one area to another.
    • If used as provided for in a student’s IEP or Section 504 plan or behavior intervention plan.
    • As reasonably needed to prevent imminent destruction to school or another person’s property.

Physical restraint shall not be considered a reasonable use of force when used solely as a disciplinary consequence.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private cause of action against any local board of education, its agents or employees, or any institutions of teacher education or their agents or employees or to create a criminal offense.

Disclaimer. Nothing in this post is intended to create an attorney client relationship.  Nothing written or spoken constitutes legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice. There may be additional laws, rules, policies applicable to the use of restraint and force in your state. The above is an overview of information compiled from individual sources that are maintained and
updated with varying frequencies. While we attempt to keep the information current, readers should read the source information directly,  go to the source to check for updates or conduct further research.  For information and/or legal advice, consult with your attorney or States Attorney General.