Least Restrictive Environment and Placement Decisions
Geishert Gooden, Lauren
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As a mandated principle of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) states that students with disabilities must be educated with their non-disabled peers (a) to the maximum extent appropriate, and (b) the removal or separation of children with disabilities from the general educational environment may occur only when the severity of the disability is such that, even with the use of supplementary aids and services, satisfactory education cannot be achieved (20 U.S.C., Sec 1412 [a] ). Not all districts or special education teachers are aware of or educated about case law. Therefore, some districts continue to feel that determining LRE for students with disabilities is mostly up to their interpretation. Interview questions were developed based on prior research to answer the research question, how do special education teachers at one elementary school in a north central state make decisions regarding placement? Three elementary level special education teachers were interviewed and the interviews consisted of specific questions pertaining to what factors went into their decisions about the best placement for their students. The interviews were coded, and it was determined that the special education teachers make decisions regarding placement based on three themes. The themes found within the interviews were individual student needs, resources and supports available, and prior practice.
Least Restrictive Environment