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Encyclopedia > Least Restrictive Environment

As part of the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the least restrictive environment is identified as one of the six principles that govern the education of students with disabilities. It means that a student who has a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent possible. They should have access to the general education curriculum, extracurricular activities, or any other program that non-disabled peers would be able to access. The student should be provided with supplementary aids and services necessary to achieve educational goals if placed in a setting with non-disabled peers. Should the nature or severity of his or her disability prevent the student from achieving these goals in a regular education setting, then the student would be placed in a more restrictive environment. The less opportunity a student has to interact and learn with non-disabled peers, the more that the setting is considered to be restricted. By law, teachers are required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment for students who have disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a United States federal law, , most recently amended in 2004, meant to ensure a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities, designed to their individualized needs in the Least Restrictive Environment. ... Alternate uses: Student (disambiguation) Etymologically derived through Middle English from the Latin second-type conjugation verb stŭdērĕ, which means to study, a student is one who studies. ... Disabilities are limitations in activity and/or functioning that are attributable to permanent medical conditions in physical, mental, emotional, and/or sensory domains and, significantly, are also due to societal responses to those limitations. ... A peer is a person of the same age, status, or ability as another specified person. ... In education, a curriculum (plural curricula) is the set of courses and their contents offered by an institution such as a school or university. ... Extracurricular activities are activities performed by students that fall outside the realm of the normal curriculum of school or university education. ... // Public education is education mandated for the children of the general public by the government, whether national, regional, or local, provided by an institution of civil government, and paid for, in whole or in part, by taxes. ...

To determine what an appropriate setting is for a student, a team will review the student’s needs and interests. The types of educational settings for students with disabilities will vary. With the differences in needs and interests among students with disabilities, there is no clear definition of what an LRE will be for all students.

Least restrictive environment and the courts

Due to the fact that the law does not clearly state to what degree the least restrictive environment is, courts have had to interpret the LRE principle. In a landmark case, Daniel R. v. State Board of Education (1989), it was determined that students with disabilities have a right to be included in both academic and extracurricular programs of general education. In Board of Education, Sacramento City Unified School District v. Holland (1994), four factors were identified as things needed to be taken into consideration when determining if the student’s LRE is appropriate. They are the educational benefits of integrated settings versus segregated settings, nonacademic benefits (social interaction with non-disabled peers), the effect the student with a disability can have on the teacher and his or her peers, and the cost of supplementary services that will be required for that student to stay in the integrated setting. Simply stated, the student should receive an appropriate education and social benefits. The education of the student’s non-disabled peers should not be affected. The final factor, cost of supplementary services, provides a safeguard for schools so that they do not exceed spending on one particular student. A board of education or a school board or school committee is the title of the board of directors of a local school district. ... Sacramento City Unified School District is located in Sacramento, California. ... Integration may be any of the following: Usually integration is the construction of an object, a theory, etc. ... Segregation means separation. ... A pair of angles are supplementary if their respective measures sum to 180 degrees. ...

See also

An inclusive classroom (also known as an integrated classroom) is an educational term used to describe classes whose students possess a wide range of ability and developmental levels. ... Mainstreaming in education, also known as inclusion, is the process of grouping disabled students with general education students in the classroom. ...


Leal, Dorothy; Smith, Sean; Shank, Marilyn; Turnbull, Ann; & Turnbull, Rud (2002). Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools (3rd ed.) Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.



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