Data Insights on PBIS and Utilization of Restraint and Seclusion

Supporting Ohio’s Whole Child Framework and Data Insights on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Utilization of Restraint and Seclusion

The Ohio Department of Education is committed to providing safe and supportive schools to all students through the implementation of whole-child supports. Research demonstrates that students do better academically, socially and behaviorally when supports are provided for the whole child within a school setting. The use of restraint and seclusion in schools negatively impacts a student’s outcome for optimal social and emotional learning. For that reason, the Department’s efforts to support the whole child include a focus on eliminating the use of restraint and seclusion.


This page is organized in two parts:

  • Part 1: Ohio’s Whole Child Framework and Initiatives, presents an overview of Ohio’s specific efforts to eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion thorough multiple statewide initiatives; and
  • Part 2: Data Insights on PBIS and Restraint and Seclusion in Schools, which addresses:
    • Positive Behavior Interventions and Support implementation in schools; and
    • Restraint and Seclusion in Schools. Ohio is a local-control state; school districts and locally elected school boards of education develop, publish, implement and monitor their own policy on the use of restraint and seclusion. Administrative rule requires districts to report information regarding its use of restraint and seclusion to the Department.


Each Child, Our Future

In the summer of 2018, the State Board of Education approved Ohio’s strategic plan for education titled Each Child, Our Future. Detailed information about Ohio’s strategic plan, can be found in the Strategic Plan for Education 2019-2024. This plan identifies four equally important learning domains that support the holistic success of each child prekindergarten through grade 12 (preK-12). These learning domains include foundational knowledge and skills, well-rounded content, leadership and reasoning and social-emotional learning. Ohio’s strategic plan for education puts the Whole Child Framework at the center, where each component of the plan works harmoniously to support this approach.

Part 1: Ohio’s Whole Child Framework

The Whole Child Framework is a blueprint schools and districts can use to meet the social, emotional, mental, behavioral, physical health, wellness, nutrition and safety needs of Ohio students. A whole-child approach broadens district and school focus beyond academics to include the many factors in a child’s life that impact the educational experience. The Whole Child Framework provides a guide to meet these whole-child needs, which are foundational to a child’s intellectual and social development, and necessary for students to fully engage in learning.

The five tenets of Ohio’s Whole Child Framework are five commonly held beliefs reflecting optimally desired student conditions leading to success in life and learning. These tenets recognize that students’ basic physiological and psychological needs must be met before they can fully engage in complex learning and social activities. When students are healthy, feel safe, are supported through strong systems and relationships, are challenged and experience success, and are engaged in learning that is relevant and meaningful, they are more likely to enjoy learning, develop positive social skills and achieve greater success.

Ohio's Whole Child Framework
The Office of Integrated Student Supports coordinates and leads the Department’s efforts to develop the policies, programs, guidance and resources that support the implementation of the Whole Child Framework in Ohio. Each of the initiatives and resources below represents a critical piece of the collaborative approach to learning and wellness within Ohio’s Whole Child Framework.


Safe and Supportive School Environments

Students learn best and thrive in safe and supportive learning environments, as indicated in the Whole Child Framework. The components of a safe and supportive learning environment include creating a positive school climate and culture, addressing students’ emotional and physical safety and ensuring the school’s physical environment and grounds are safe. Promoting and supporting staff wellness and self-care also is an important component to help ensure students’ academic success and overall well-being.


Social and Emotional Learning

The State Board of Education of Ohio adopted Ohio’s Social and Emotional Learning Standards for K-12 in June 2019. These standards were developed through a stakeholder-driven process with Ohio teachers, school counselors, social workers and psychologists, and principals actively involved on the writing team. The standards provide a continuum of social development across five competencies (Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision-Making) with the understanding that each child develops at his or her own pace and may excel in one set of skills while struggling in another. Each district determines the extent to which it uses the standards. The standards serve as a guide and resource as districts select social and emotional learning programs or curricula to implement.

Social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. Research demonstrates that students who receive support for social and emotional learning in schools do better academically, socially and behaviorally. Social and emotional learning also has been shown to positively impact economic mobility and mental health outcomes. Developing these skills in our students is an important part of meeting the needs of the whole child.


Trauma Informed Schools

A trauma-informed school is one in which all students and staff feel safe, welcomed, and supported, and where the impact of trauma on teaching and learning is addressed at the center of the educational mission. The Department recognizes the impact trauma can have in the lives of students and has developed a trauma-informed schools webpage with information and resources to support schools in planning and implementing trauma-informed approaches.

The Department held its first Trauma-Informed Schools Conference on Nov. 7, 2020. Conference sessions provided information and tools to help school personnel and community partners understand the impact of trauma and how to apply trauma-informed practices at the district, building and classroom levels to best support the whole child.


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Ohio law requires districts to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) on a system-wide basis and adds new requirements for districts to provide professional development on PBIS for school personnel. Supported by legislative mandates, the Department is enthusiastic to continue building statewide capacity to implement PBIS1.

PBIS is a multi-tiered system of supports that utilizes instructional practices to teach students what behaviors are expected in the various school settings throughout the school day. A well-implemented PBIS framework provides instructional supports to all students, additional small-group interventions for some students and when needed, behavioral planning for individual students. PBIS involves all school staff and requires consistency among adults about what is expected of students and well-organized practices to recognize student positive behaviors. When properly implemented, PBIS has been shown to reduce discipline problems and improve overall school climate.


Building State, Regional and Local Capacity for PBIS

Through the federally funded U.S. Department of Education School Climate Transformation Grant, the Department and regional designees are working to build Ohio’s PBIS training and coaching capacity. This grant operates through September 2023 and focuses on increasing the number of PBIS master trainers within the State Support Teams and Educational Service Centers, improving coordination of resources, incorporating opioid abuse prevention and mitigation strategies (including trauma informed practices) and integrating culturally responsive practices into the PBIS framework.

The Department hosts an annual Ohio PBIS Showcase that provides an opportunity for attendees to acquire firsthand knowledge on PBIS implementation from high-quality Ohio PBIS schools. Schools that implement PBIS with a high degree of consistency and fidelity are eligible to be recognized as a PBIS award school (gold, silver or bronze levels). The Showcase features award-winning and high-quality PBIS school programs sharing their knowledge and experiences in implementing and scaling-up their PBIS efforts, including training on PBIS coaching strategies and poster presentations from quality PBIS schools sharing real-life experiences and resources.


Mental and Behavioral Health Supports

The Department provides professional development, technical assistance and resources to support schools in developing comprehensive mental health systems that provide a continuum of supports and services. Effective mental health systems address mental health promotion, early intervention and treatment. The Department collaborates with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services on several initiatives focused on building efforts between schools and community partners to create safe and supportive schools and improve the mental and behavioral health of students, families and school staff. Through this partnership, statewide resources and trainings are available to school staff, families and community partners. Several initiatives have been developed and supported through this collaboration, including mental and behavioral health supports developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:


  • Health and Well-being Webpage: Released at the start of the 2020-2021 school year, this page provides practical ideas and easy steps for parents and caregivers to support their child’s well-being during the pandemic, including mental and behavioral health supports.
  • Student and Staff Well-being Toolkit: This toolkit was designed to explore the social, emotional and behavioral considerations districts and schools may reflect upon while planning and implementing supports during the pandemic. The toolkit covers multiple topics including staff self-care, trauma-informed practices and suicide prevention and intervention.
  • ABCs of Mental Health: This is a resource for educators who may be feeling the weight of new expectations along with heightened health and safety concerns. Developed by Ohio’s leading suicide prevention experts with teachers, administrators and school staff specifically in mind, the ABCs of Mental Health guides school staff to: Ask yourself how you are feeling; Be aware of signs and symptoms of mental health challenges; and Care for yourself and others.
  • Youth & Adults Mental Health and Wellness Outreach | Ohio Department of Education: This webpage offers resources that can help both children and adults to cope, heal, strengthen and grow, providing access to resources and tools needed to support an appropriate awareness campaign. Each initiative has a built-in education and stigma-reduction component aimed at changing attitudes and strengthening supports for those in need. The website links below will take visitors directly to the “plug and play” assets for each campaign. The toolkits include downloadable educational resources, including videos, for parents and educators.



  • School-based Mental Health Professionals Initiative: Funded through the U.S. Department of Education, this initiative brings together local educational service centers, universities’ community mental health providers and districts to plan and implement recruitment and retainment strategies to increase the number of school-based mental health professionals providing mental health services to students and families in seven of Ohio’s Appalachian counties (Belmont, Guernsey, Harrison, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Tuscarawas).


Prevention Education Efforts

Under the leadership of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 biennial budget included funding to support prevention services and prevention education professional development for educators. The budget also included the Student Wellness and Success Funds to help districts implement student wellness and success initiatives. Through this investment, Ohio’s districts and schools are able to address the continuum of student needs through prevention, early intervention and intervention services.


  • K-12 Prevention Initiative: Districts and schools assess prevention needs and provide evidence-informed prevention-education services for all students in all grades. These funds are coordinated through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and county alcohol, drug addiction and mental health boards.
  • Prevention Education Professional Development: Funding is provided to build the capacity of educational service centers to train educators and related service personnel on the model and tenets of prevention education. These funds are coordinated through the Ohio Department of Education and select educational service centers. The prevention education webpage expands upon the work and partnerships with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, as well as overall prevention efforts by the Department.
  • Student Wellness and Success Funds: This flexible funding for districts and schools can be used to plan and implement student wellness initiatives, including mental health services, wraparound services, mentoring and after-school programs to meet the needs of the whole child.


Updates to the Administrative Rule: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Restraint and Seclusion

The Ohio administrative rule for the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Restraints and Seclusion went into effect at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

In October 2020, revisions to the rule received full State Board approval and went into effect on June 25, 2021. The rule includes specific requirements for reporting, professional development and districtwide policies. Detailed updates to the rule are discussed throughout this document.


Part 2: Data insights on PBIS and Restraint and Seclusion in Schools


The following information highlights state-level data points2 related to the implementation of PBIS and the use of physical restraint and seclusion in schools. As is best practice in continuous improvement science, the Department encourages schools and districts to constantly consider effective ways to collect, analyze and make sense of their data and use it to set goals and drive improvement.

The Ohio Department of Education collects data about the implementation of PBIS and incidents of restraint and seclusion at the school-building level for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Historically, the data collection occurred in the fall, and data submitted was for the previous school year. For the 2019-2020 school year, the data collection was permanently moved to June so districts could provide data for the current school year. The goal of the Department is to ensure accurate reporting of data, increase understanding and implementation of policies and procedures and provide technical assistance and support to reduce the need for restraint and seclusion statewide.

The PBIS and Restraint and Seclusion Survey is provided to all Ohio districts/schools that serve students in grades K-12. These include public districts, community schools, STEM schools, state supported organizations and Education Service Centers (ESC). Data collected from individual school buildings enable the Department to provide targeted support and technical assistance in the following ways:

  • Ensure all districts have adopted a policy for restraint and seclusion for the current school year;
  • Provide support to specific school buildings and districts about the implementation of PBIS and incidents of restraint and seclusion; and
  • State Support Teams and Educational Service Centers provide additional areas of needed support to school buildings and districts.


Increase in District Response Rate

The 2019-2020 survey collected responses from 1,030 of the 1,032 schools/districts. Previously administered in the fall, the summer survey has increased our response rate from all school types (public districts, community schools, STEM schools, state supported organizations and ESCs) to greater than 99%. The Department hopes to continue seeing a high response rate in coming years.

Policies in Place

The administrative rule requires school districts to have written policies and procedures concerning the use of restraint and seclusion that are consistent with the Policy on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support and Restraint and Seclusion (the “policy” or “policies”). All responding districts’ school boards have adopted written policies. As of June 24, 2021, policies will align with the administrative rule.

Updates to the administrative rule state that school districts annually will review their policies and procedures with district staff and will provide an annual notice to parents about their district’s policy and procedures specific to positive behavioral interventions and supports and the use of restraint and seclusion.

Use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

PBIS is a school-wide systematic approach to embed evidence-based practices and data-driven decision making to improve school climate and culture to achieve improved academic and social outcomes and increase learning for all students. It encompasses a range of systemic and individualized positive strategies to reinforce desired behaviors, diminish reoccurrences of challenging behaviors and teach appropriate behaviors to students.3

PBIS training is a multi-session, team-based process with follow-up coaching support. To properly implement PBIS data, systems and practices requires a multi-year commitment from a participating school.

The National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports identifies five sequential phases building leadership teams go through to plan and implement PBIS with fidelity.4 Ohio uses these phases to identify where districts and schools are with PBIS implementation, and what additional training and coaching is needed to progress. The phases are defined below:

  1. Work on implementing PBIS has not yet begun.
  2. Exploration and Adoption – Researching PBIS, exploring readiness and securing staff and administration agreement to implement PBIS.
  3. Installation – Creating the PBIS team, completing PBIS team training, and establishing initial systems, data-decisions, policies and practices that will be required to implement PBIS.
  4. Initial Implementation – Rolling out and implementing PBIS schoolwide, with a focus on Tier I supports.
  5. Full Implementation – Implementing PBIS with all systemic components and a range of interventions, known as Tier I, II and III supports.
  6. Innovation and Sustainability – Routinely checking fidelity and outcomes of implementation using national assessments and revising and updating practices and systems as needed.

Each stage has specific steps and associated actions while the stages, steps and actions suggest a linear sequence of events. In actual implementation there often is a more dynamic flow to the work. Some stages or steps may be occurring simultaneously, and the work often circles back to revisit earlier stages. However, the data enable the ability to identify schools/districts that should be recognized, or ones that could use additional resources or training.

As of the 2018-19 school year, districts report which phase of PBIS they are implementing to the Education Management Information System (EMIS) at a building level.5 Figure 1 demonstrates that school districts have advanced each year in their stage of implementation of PBIS.

Figure 1

PBIS Stage Advancement Year-Over-Year graph

Trauma-Informed Care Data Outcomes

Applying a trauma-informed lens, crisis intervention teams work to understand how trauma impacts behavior, strive to reduce trauma triggers that can escalate a crisis situation and avoid re-traumatizing students and staff. Trauma-informed practices help students and staff regulate emotions, which contributes to de-escalation and the reduction of restraint and seclusion incidents.   

As of the 2018-2019 school year, the Department uses the annual restraint and seclusion data survey to identify how many schools provide trauma-informed care training. Training about trauma-informed care increased within school buildings from 76% in the 2018-2019 school year to 82% in the 2019-2020 school year. The Department is encouraged by the increase in trauma-informed training in schools and has multiple resources in place to assist districts and schools to become a trauma-informed district or school.

Reported Incidents of Restraint and Seclusion

Physical Restraint is defined as the use of physical contact in a way that immobilizes or reduces the ability of an individual to move the individual’s arms, legs, body or head freely.6 The term does not include a physical escort, mechanical restraint or chemical restraint. Additionally, physical restraint does not include brief physical contact to break up a fight, knock a weapon out of student’s possession, to calm or comfort a student, to assist a student in completing a task or response if the student does not resist the contact or to prevent the imminent risk to a student or others.

Seclusion is defined as the involuntary isolation of a student in a room, enclosure or space from which the student is prevented from leaving by physical restraint or by a closed door or other physical barrier.7

Crisis management, de-escalation techniques and less restrictive interventions always should  be used to reduce the need for school personnel to use restraint or seclusion interventions whenever possible. For the 2019-2020 school year, less than 1% of the 1,655,285 of students enrolled in Ohio’s schools were involved in an incident of restraint and seclusion. That same year, 68% of the 3,594 schools reporting had no incidents of restraint and 87% reported no incidents of seclusion.

Themes of Restraint and Seclusion Data


  • Increase of Reported Incidents of Restraint and Seclusion

    Data collected from the 2017-2018, 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years show an increase in the number of incidents of restraint and seclusion (see Figure 2). The Department anticipated that increased compliance with record-keeping and reporting contributed to an increase in reported incidents of restraints and seclusions. The data from the 2019-2020 school year revealed a slight decrease in the number of physical restraints; however this likely is lower than a typical year because of the March 2020 ordered school building closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department continues to closely monitor reported incidents of restraint and seclusion and will be providing additional training and resources to school buildings and districts that see a significant increase.


  • Students with Disabilities have more Incidents of Restraint and Seclusion   

    Data collected continues to confirm that students identified as a child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and have individual education programs (IEPs) have more incidents of restraints and seclusions. Figure 2 provides a detailed look at this statement.

Figure 2.

District Use of Restraint and Seclusion by Year graph

  • Students with the Disability Category of Emotional Disturbance have more Occurrences of Restraint and Seclusion

    Data collected8 for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 show that students identified with a disability in the category of Emotional Disturbance have higher rates of restraint and seclusion than other categories. For the 2019-2020 school year, 25% of students with disabilities who were restrained were students with Emotional Disturbance, followed by Students with Autism and Multiple Disabilities. Figure 3 provides further details.

Figure 3.
Percentage of Students Restrained and Secluded by Disability Category
  % of Students with Disabilities
% of Students with Disabilities
  2018-19 2019-20 2018-19 2019-20
Emotional Disturbance (SBH) 20.2% 25.0% 9.5% 13.6%


7.7% 8.2% 4.7% 5.3%

Multiple Disabilities
(other than Deaf-Blind)

5.8% 7.3% 3.0% 2.4%
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 1.1% 4.6% 1.7% 2.1%
Other Health Impaired 1.9% 2.7% 1.0% 1.6%



  • Districts decreased suspension and expulsion of students related to incidents of restraint and seclusion.

    The Department uses the annual restraint and seclusion data to identify when a student is suspended because of a physical restraint or seclusion or if a functional behavior assessment (FBA) or behavior intervention plan (BIP) is created or amended as a result of a physical restraint or seclusion. Between the 2017-2018 and 2019-2020 school years, the number of suspensions following a restraint decreased by 13% and those following seclusions decreased by 7.4%. However, as of the 2019-2020 school year, the creation or amendment of FBAs and a BIPs were more than twice as likely to occur following an incident of restraint or seclusion than following a suspension or expulsion. This aligns with Ohio’s efforts to reduce exclusionary discipline practices, especially in pre-kindergarten through grade three as outlined in Ohio Revised Code 3313.66. Figures 4 and 5 provide further details.

Figure 4.

Percentage of Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA), Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP) and Suspensions Following Incidents of Restraint graph

Figure 5.

Percentage of Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA), Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP) and Suspensions Following Incidents of Seclusion graph


Next Steps

The Department will engage in a number of key activities to support districts in their efforts to implement PBIS and reduce the number of restraints and seclusions in their school buildings.


  • Roll Out of PBIS Tier III Training

During the 2021-2022 school year, PBIS Tier III training will be provided throughout the state. Tier III supports are individualized interventions to address severe or persistent behavior. Tier III interventions involve in-depth, individual behavior analysis and behavioral intervention planning. Through this process, school teams identify the root cause influencing behavior and establish interventions specifically designed for the individual student.


  • Blending Restraint and Seclusion Prevention with PBIS Training

The Department will incorporate more content on restraint and seclusion prevention and planning into PBIS training and coaching, promoting the alignment and integration of crisis intervention teams and PBIS leadership teams. This additional training and coaching and will increase the capacity of school staff to effectively support students with complex behavioral needs, thus reducing instances of restraint and seclusion.


  • Updates to the Administrative Rule: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Restraint and Seclusion

The Administrative Rule received significant updates since its inception in 2013. The additions to the Administrative Rule are intended to reduce incidences and improve outcomes about PBIS restraint and seclusion are as follows:

  • Specific requirements9 about training and professional development for PBIS and the use of crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques are included in the rule.
  • A section about staff’s requirements for content and timeliness of documentation and communication following an incident of restraint or seclusion.10
  • A section was added which will require districts to meet with students and their parents or guardians within 10 days of the third incident of restraint or seclusion to consider the need to develop or amend a functional behavior assessment (FBA) or behavior intervention plan (BIP).11
  • A state complaint process for parents to file complaints with the state regarding concerns about the use of restraint and seclusion with their child.12


The Department continues to prioritize its commitment to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion across the state. Guided by the data collected through the annual restraint and seclusion report, the Department will provide additional technical assistance, professional development and resources to support districts, state support teams and educational service centers in creating safe and supportive school environments.   


1 ORC 3319.46
2 All analyses herein include all responding districts unless otherwise noted.
OAC 3301-35-15
4 Lewis, T.J., Barrett, S., Sugai, G., & Horner, R. H., Mitchell, B.S., & Starkey, D. (2016). Training and professional development blueprint for positive behavioral interventions and supports. Eugene, OR: national Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support. Retrieved from For assistance with implementing PBIS in your district/building, please contact the State Support Team located in your district’s region.
3276 buildings reporting PBIS stage
6 OAC 3301-35-15(A)(9)
7 OAC 3301-35-15(A)(14)
8 Data was not collected specific to disability category until the 2018-2019 school year.
9 OAC 3301-35-15(C) and (H)
10 OAC 3301-35-15(K)(1)
11 OAC 3301-35-15(G)
12 OAC 3301-35-15 (L)


Last Modified: 12/5/2021 9:13:30 AM