Programming in the Least Restrictive Environment Administrative Procedure

In determining least restrictive programming the Yarmouth School Department ensures:

  1. The decision is made by the student’s IEP team (a group of persons, including the parents, and other persons knowledgeable about the student and the placement options);

  2. The student’s placement is determined at least annually, is based on the student’s IEP, and is as close as possible to the student’s home;

  3. The student is educated in the school that he or she would attend if non-disabled, unless there is a disability and the IEP requires some other arrangement;

  4. In selecting the LRE, consideration is given to any harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and

  5. A student with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.

The IEP team shall assess whether education in the regular classroom, with the use of supplementary aids and services, can be achieved satisfactorily. In making that determination, the IEP team shall assess each of the following factors:

• What supplementary aids and services may assist the student in obtaining a satisfactory education in the regular classroom. Supplementary aids and services may include, but are not limited to, learning center services, assistive technology, modifications of curriculum, use of education technicians, and consultation services from special educators.
When assessing supplementary aids and services, the IEP team need not order placement in the regular classroom if it would require modification of the regular curriculum beyond recognition or would result in the student not having to learn any of the skills normally taught in that regular education curriculum.
• A comparison of the benefits the student would receive in the regular education classroom with those that the student would receive in a more restrictive setting, such as a self-contained program.The assessment of benefits should consider both academic and social benefits of participation in the placement at issue. The IEP team shall also assess academic and social detriments for the student that may arise from the placement at issue.
In some circumstances, large social benefits of regular education may outweigh small academic benefits, just as large academic benefits of a more restrictive setting may outweigh small social benefits of a regular education placement.

• What effect would placement of the student in the regular classroom have on other students in the classroom? 

The IEP team need not place a student in the regular classroom when the student’s behavior, even with supplementary aids and services, would be so disruptive that the education of other students is significantly impaired. Nor would the IEP team need to place the student in the regular classroom when the student would require so much of the teacher or the education technician’s time that the rest of the class suffers.

• What the financial cost would be of the supplementary aides and services accompanying an appropriate placement in the regular classroom.

Placement in the regular classroom may not be rejected under this factor simply because it would be incrementally more expensive than placement in a more restrictive setting. Yet the Yarmouth School Department need not educate a student in the regular classroom if the cost of such a placement would significantly impact upon the education of other students. In most circumstances, the school unit need not place a student in the regular classroom if such placement requires that the student have his/her own full-time teacher.

If the IEP team determines after assessing the above factors that the student is unable to be educated satisfactorily in the regular classroom with supplementary aids and services, the IEP team shall then determine the maximum extent of instruction in the regular classroom that the student may appropriately receive.

In making this determination, the IEP team shall ensure that a continuum of alternate placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services. The continuum required must include alternative placements (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions); and make provision for supplementary services (such as learning center or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with the regular class placement. Comparable facilities – facilities in which special education services are provided to children with disabilities shall be comparable to those in which regular education is provided to children and located in chronologically age appropriate settings. Self-contained classrooms shall be limited to serving children within a five-year chronological age span.

In making placement determinations, the IEP team shall attempt to give preference to placements in the student’s neighborhood school district. When the special services needed by the student are sufficiently specialized or expensive that they are provided by the school unit only in a school building other than the student’s neighborhood school, the IEP team may place that student in the school where the specialized services exist, rather than replicate those services in the neighborhood school. This determination shall not impact, in most circumstances, on the IEP team’s determination regarding the extent to which the student is able to participate in regular education.

Placements in residential programs shall be made only when the IEP team determines that the student is not otherwise able to receive some educational benefit from a day program.

Legal Reference:
20 USC 1412(a)(5); 

34 CFR 300.115;
34 CFR 300.116
Ch. 101 §§ 11.1-11.3 (2010) (Me. Dept. of Ed. Rules)
IHBAG – Least Restrictive Environment
Adopted: January 13, 2011