Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Special Education Law 101- Part II

As explained in a previous post, I have decided to post a series of Special Ed Law 101 articles to give those outside the SpEd (special education) circle a better chance of understanding what we mean and to get more people hooked on this ever-growing field.
Special Ed Law 101- Part II

The Requirement of LRE (least restrictive environment)

In addition to the requirement of FAPE, which was discussed in a previous post, the IDEA also requires that to the “…maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities … are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. IDEA, Section 612(a)(5). See, 34 C.F.R. Sections 300.114 to 300.119. This is known as "LRE."

The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the issue of LRE, but a number of Circuit Courts of appeal have provided some guidance. For example, the Fifth Circuit has developed a two pronged analysis: the first question is whether education of the student with a disability in the regular classroom, with the use of supplemental aids and services, can be satisfactorily achieved, and if it cannot, whether the school district has provided the student with interaction with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. Daniel RR v. State Board of Education 874 F.2d 1036, 441 IDELR 433 (5th Cir. 1989). (See decisions in your circuit.)

The special education law, then, requires that a child with a disability be provided a FAPE(free and appropriate public education) and that it be provided in the LRE (least restrictive environment that is appropriate for the child).

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