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Child placement and LRE

Placement Decisions and the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Deciding Where Your Student’s IEP Will Be Implemented

Placement decisions are made by your student’s IEP team after the IEP has been developed. The term “placement” in special education does not necessarily mean the precise physical location where your student will be educated. Rather, your student’s “placement” refers to the range or continuum of educational settings available in the district to implement her/his IEP and the overall amount of time s/he will spend in the general education setting.

One of the defining principles of special education law is that students with disabilities should be included in the general education program as much as possible and not excluded or educated separately. The law requires districts to provide special education services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). The LRE is the educational setting that is closest to the general education classroom that still allows the student to access an appropriate education from which they can benefit.

The LRE is unique to your student’s individual needs. Thus, the selection of an appropriate placement for your student must take into account the following four factors:

  1. The content of your student’s IEP;
  2. The LRE requirements;
  3. The likelihood that the placement option will provide a reasonably high probability of assisting your student to attain her/his annual goals; and
  4. The consideration of any potentially harmful effects that the placement option might have on your student or on the quality of services that your student needs