503.5 Corporal Punishment, Mechanical Restraint and Prone Restraint

Code No. 503.5


The use of corporal punishment, mechanical restraint and/or prone restraint is prohibited in all schools.  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 any of the following which are not considered corporal punishment::

  • 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(s) within a studentpupil'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 Codeowa Code section 704.4 or 704.5.
    • To remove a disruptive studentpupil from class or any area of school premises or from school-sponsored activities off school premises.
    • To protect 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.

Mechanical restraint means the use of a device as a means of restricting a student’s freedom of movement.  Mechanical restraint does not mean a device used by a trained individual for specific approved therapeutic or safety purposes for which the device was designed and, if applicable, prescribed, including restraints for medical immobilization, adaptive devices or mechanical supports used to allow greater freedom of mobility than would be possible without use of such devices or mechanical supports; and vehicle safety restraints when used as intended during the transport of a student in a moving vehicle. 

Prone restraint means any restraint in which the student is held face down on the floor. 

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; including mental and psychological injury;

            5.   The motivation of the school employee using physical force.

Upon request, the student's parents are given an explanation of the reasons for physical force.

It is 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).

Lai v. Erickson, PTPC Admin. Doc. 83-12 (1983).

Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.21.

281 I.A.C. 12.3(6); 103.

Approved 9-13-93 Reviewed    9-24-07     Revised   1-18-2021