Rhode Island officials want to help educators determine when and how to physically restrain students.

Schools often have no clear guidelines, but a draft policy developed by the state Department of Education would limit use of physical restraints to situations in which a child poses a threat to himself or classmates. The draft guidelines were written specifically for students with special needs.

"There was no consistent policy about how to address the need for physical intervention," said Jennifer Wood, a lawyer for the state education department. "You have to have

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