Behavior Supports

There have been some recent postings on social media which indicate some misunderstandings around “time out, seclusion, and restraint” and how they all fit within the behavior supports in place in the Ottumwa Community School District.

Ottumwa Schools has put in a lot of proactive efforts in place to support student behavior, including PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) which emphasizes a positive approach to behavioral issues and focuses on introducing, modeling, and reinforcing what students should do rather than waiting for misbehavior to occur.

In addition to the instruction that all students receive, we also offer small group lessons for students who would benefit from additional support.  Teachers, who have received training in de-escalation strategies, also have designated time out areas in their classrooms where students can calm down and regroup.  

There is a small percentage of students who need support beyond that, and may require a more individualized behavior intervention plan, and in some cases may need seclusion.  Seclusion is a procedure of placing students in a room to prevent out-of-control, dangerous students from harming themselves or others. Seclusion is only used in circumstances when less restrictive interventions have failed.

If you have any questions about the behavior supports offered at your child’s building, please don’t hesitate to contact the building principal.

Chapter 103 Parent Notification

Notice: Corporal Punishment, Restraint, and Physical Confinement and Detention

State law forbids school employees from using corporal punishment against any student. Certain actions by school employees are not considered corporal punishment. Additionally, school employees may use “reasonable and necessary force, not designed or intended to cause pain” to do certain things, such as prevent harm to persons or property.

State law also places limits school employees’ abilities to restrain or confine and detain any student. The law limits why, how, where, and for how long a school employee may restrain or confine and detain a child. If a child is restrained or confined and detained, the school must maintain documentation and must provide certain types of notice to the child’s parent.

If you have any questions about this state law, please contact your school. The complete text of the law and additional information is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s web site: