Q: Can a teacher physically restain a student, by forcefully grabbing the student's upper arm (causing bruising)?

1 Lawyer Answer
William Jaksa
William Jaksa
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Toronto

A: The not-straight-forward answer is that they shouldn't ever... BUT there are circumstances when a teacher or any other adult may be justified in physically restraining a student. A teacher is responsible for the welfare of all the student in their charge. If they used force to prevent an assault or stop an assault they may be justified. Restraining someone to the point of leaving bruises shows that a significant amount of force may have been needed to restain that student, meaning that student may have continued to fight and struggle. Meaning that student likely needed a greater deal of force to stop their behaviour.

Ideally, a teacher should be able to intervene without physically touching a student, but when they are required to use any force they should be held to account for why they did and was the amount of force justified.

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