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503.5 Corporal Punishment/Physical Confinement

Corporal punishment is defined as the intentional physical punishment of a student and is prohibited. It includes the use of unreasonable or unnecessary physical force or physical contact made with the intent to harm or cause pain. No employee is prohibited from:

  • Using reasonable and necessary force, not designed or intended to cause pain, in order to accomplish any of the following:
  • To quell a disturbance or prevent an act that threatens physical harm to any person.
  • To obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous object within a pupil's control.
  • For the purposes of self-defense or defense of others as provided for in Iowa Code section 704.3.
  • For the protection of property as provided for in Iowa Code section 704.4 or 704.5.
  • To remove a disruptive pupil from class or any area of school premises, or from school-sponsored activities off school premises.
  • To prevent a student from the self-infliction of harm.
  • To protect the safety of others.
  • Using incidental, minor, or reasonable physical contact to maintain order and control.

Reasonable physical force should be commensurate with the circumstances of the situation. The following factors should be considered in using reasonable physical force for the reasons stated in this policy:

  1. The size and physical, mental, and psychological condition of the student;
  2. The nature of the student's behavior or misconduct provoking the use of physical force;
  3. The instrumentality used in applying the physical force;
  4. The extent and nature of resulting injury to the student, if any;
  5. The motivation of the school employee using physical force.

Physical confinement and detention means the confinement of a student in a time-out room or some other enclosure, whether within or outside the classroom, from which the student’s egress is restricted. If a student is physically confined or detained, the following conditions shall be followed:

  • The area shall be of reasonable dimensions, and shall be free from hazards or dangerous objects, considering the age, size, and physical and mental condition of the student.
  • The area shall have sufficient light and adequate ventilation.
  • A comfortable temperature shall be maintained, consistent with the facility that includes the confinement and detention area.
  • Reasonable breaks should be provided for bodily needs.
  • The period of detention and confinement is reasonable, considering the age, size, and physical and mental condition of the student subject to confinement and detention, and not in excess of the hours in a school day as defined by local board policy or rule; however, reasonable periods of before- and after-school detention are permissible. If a period of physical confinement and detention exceeds the shorter of 60 minutes or the school’s typical class period, staff members shall evaluate the continued need for physical confinement and detention, shall obtain administrator (or designee) approval for any continued confinement and detention beyond the initial periodic reevaluation, and shall comply with any administrator (or designee) directives concerning any continued confinement and detention.
  • Adequate and continuous supervision is provided.
  • Material restraints must not be used to maintain confinement and detention.
  • If a locking mechanism is used the mechanism must comply with all building and fire codes and either:
  • Operate only when held in place by an adult
  • Open from the inside when lock is released.

If restraint or seclusion is used with a student, parents will be notified and provided with documentation of the incident.

It shall be the responsibility of the superintendent to develop administrative regulations regarding this policy.

Legal Reference:  Ingraham v.Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977).
Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975).
Tinkham v. Kole, 252 Iowa 1303, 110 N.W.2d 258 (1961).
Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.21.
281 I.A.C. 12.3(6); 103.

Cross Reference:  502 Series Student Behavior and Discipline
Policy Primer-Volume 6, Number 3-May 6, 1993

Modified:  06/07/21
Reviewed:  05/17/21

  • Series 500 Students