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Restraint Complaint Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

Note:  Responses offer general information and do not represent legal advice. 

For more details on the process, see Complaint Process Rules and Complaint Process Flowchart


What is a complaint?

A complaint is a signed, written document alleging that there has been a misuse of the use of restraints or seclusion on a student by a Public Education Agency.


What is a Public Education Agency?

Any public school district organized and existing under the laws of Colorado except a junior college district;

  • The Charter School Institute
  • The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind
  • A Board of Cooperative Education Services
  • An approved facility school operated by an eligible facility; or
  • Any public or private entity that has entered into a contract for services with an entity described in Subsections (i) through (v) of this Section 2.00(5)(a).

Is there a time limit for filing a Restraint and Seclusion Complaint?

The Complaint must allege that the violation(s) set forth in the Complaint occurred not more than one (1) year prior to the date that the Complaint is filed with the CDE. (CCR 301-45 Section 2620-R- 2.07)


Who can file a Restraint and Seclusion Complaint?

A complaint may be filed by, but not limited to, a student or a parent or legal guardian. The filing party must file a written complaint by mail or hand-delivery or other secured method by the State Complaints Office. Address for filing is located on main page.


How does it work?

Upon receipt of complaint and attachments, the State Complaints Office (SCO) determines if complaint includes all required content and if it includes a violation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) or its implementing regulations so that it can refer the complaint to the appropriate office within the Colorado Department of Education.

See flowchart for more information on how it works.

See Rules to review what the complaint should include.


What issues can be addressed?

A student or a parent or legal guardian may file a complaint to allege the misuse of restraint or seclusion used by an employee or volunteer of a school or charter school of school district or Board of Cooperative Services or a school authorized by the Charter School Institute. A misuse of a restraint or seclusion means that the restraint or use of seclusion was not applied properly as allowed by law, rules, or regulations.

For more details see Rules


What is the purpose of the complaint review?

The purpose of this review by the Restraint Complaints Office is to ascertain whether or not appropriate procedures were followed and to minimize future use of restraint. The review shall include, but is not limited to:

  • Staff review of the incident;
  • Follow up communication with the student and his/her family;
  • Review of the documentation to ensure use of alternative strategies; and
  • Recommendations for adjustment of procedures, if appropriate.

If requested by the public education agency or the parent(s) of the student, the public education agency shall convene a meeting to review the incident. For students with IEPs or Section 504 Plans, such a review may occur through the IEP or Section 504 process.


Who decides the outcomes?

Following an investigation, the Restraint Compliants Office (RCO) issues a written decision, which details the findings and conclusions unless the issues have been previously resolved. If a Public Education Agency is found to not be in compliance with state law, the RCO may make recommendations to the Public Education Agency of remedial actions the may be taken in order to come into compliance with applicable law and regulations.


What is the timeline to resolve the complaint?

The Restraint Complaints Office has 60 calendar days from the date of receipt of the properly filed complaint to resolve the complaint, unless both parties agree to extend the 60 days in order to engage in voluntary mediation. 

See flowchart for more information on timeline.


Is there an appeal process?

The decision of the Restraint Complaints Office is final and cannot be appealed.

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