A Program Quality Assurance (PQA) staff person reviews the report that is
filed with DESE to determine compliance with the requirements and to conduct
follow-up with the school as needed on any specific report or any concerning
pattern of reports that warrant further inquiry.
There are additional regulatory requirements that mandate these educational
settings notify school staff and parents/guardians of other incidents of
restraint as well. 603 CMR 46.06(1, 2) requires the school staff to notify
school principal or school director or designee of each instance of physical
restraint that results in any injury to a student or staff member, or any
physical restraint of duration longer than five minutes verbally as soon as
possible, and by written report to school principal or school director or
designee no later than the next school working day. 603 CMR 46.06(1, 3)
requires the school staff to notify the parent/guardian of each instance of
physical restraint that results in any injury to a student or staff member,
or any physical restraint of duration longer than five minutes verbally as
soon as possible, and by written report to parent/guardian postmarked no
later than three school working days following the use of such a restraint.
Complaints relative to restraints follow the standard complaint procedure
outlined by the DESE about the Problem Resolution System (PRS) on its
http://www.doe.mass.edu/pqa/ Program Quality Assurance site. PQA is the unit
within the Department that manages that system.
Any concerned person has the right to contact the Department. Most concerns
come from parents, students, teachers and individuals or organizations
acting on students’ behalf. If an individual does not write or speak
English, is not comfortable communicating in English or requires some other
accommodation, the Department will make arrangements to communicate
appropriately with the individual.
The Department recommends that individuals with questions and concerns first
contact the school (for example, the principal, superintendent of schools or
administrator of special education) to present questions and concerns to the
people who are closest to the situation and who are most able to respond
quickly. If that does not work, or does not seem possible under the
circumstances, individuals may contact PQA using the posted listing of
assigned PRS Educational Specialists.
The complete problem resolution procedure is listed on the DESE Web site
[http://www.doe.mass.edu]. The formal process involves some of the following
- Submission of a signed Intake Information Form to the Department.
- Review by the Department’s Educational PRS Specialist of the complaint to
determine if there is authority for the Department to act (if not, the
individual is referred to other assistance sources).
- If a concern is related to educational laws, regulations or policy, then
the complaint is investigated and a procedure for resolution is followed
that includes contact with the district as a first step.
- If the Department determines that the district is not meeting
requirements, the Department will send a letter explaining the basis of this
determination and the requirements for correcting any noncompliance found. Requests for advocates are often referred to the Federation for Children
with Special Needs.
- Complaint Procedure
A carefully structured procedure is in place to address reports of
infractions of state regulations on seclusion and restraint.
- On receipt of a complaint, the Department assigns an investigator from
its Division of Program Support to uncover the details of the incident.
- The Investigator submits a report to the Bureau of Special Education and
to the commissioner.
- Depending on the nature of the infraction, the commissioner can recommend
action against the individual responsible or request further investigation
if the infraction represents a systemic issue in a building or LEA.
Individual action might include suspension or revocation of the individual’s
A strong positive relationship between the Department and the NH Parent
Information Center contributes to the effectiveness of the complaint
procedure. Also, frequent communication between the staff of the Division
for Children, Youth and Families, which operates programs for troubled and
adjudicated youth, and the Department helps ensure that students outside a
traditional school setting are protected from inappropriate behavioral interventions.