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Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Educating students with disabilities in the general education setting with peers without disabilities has been shown to improve the learning of students with disabilities. The LRE is grounded in the idea that while the general education environment is the most ideal setting for students, some students may at times need special assistance and/or different settings in order to receive an appropriate education.

Schools must ensure that a continuum of alternative services and placements is available to meet the needs of eligible students. Removal from general education environments should occur only if the nature and severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes (with the use of supplementary aids and services) cannot be achieved satisfactorily. The placement is determined annually and is based on the needs outlined in the child's individualized education plan (IEP). The placement should be at the school the student would attend if he or she were not disabled, unless the IEP requires another placement. The placement is to be as close to the child's home as possible. Placement decisions must consider the quality of service the child needs, as well as any potentially harmful effect the placement could have on the child.

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