Procedural safeguards to IDEA: Least restrictive education environment
An IDEA Special Education Program encompasses various programmes. It requires that schools develop an Individual Education Program which provides an educational map of the child’s needs and helps to set goals for improvement. It includes a description of Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) that is provided to help the children reach their educational goals. In case the child also requires related services to reach the set goals, IEP describes what to include. IDEA requires that students with disabilities be re-evaluated after every three years (Jones, N. L. 2013).
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is an act that requires all children with disabilities to be educated in a least restrictive environment which is appropriate for them. This spirit is meant to ensure that children will not be unnecessarily isolated from other non-disabled children of the same age. The LRE decisions are made considering the children’s learning needs and may vary from one child to another. IDEA requires that schools should provide a full continuum of the services ranging from special classes, to regular classrooms, and even the special school placements as required. To a greater extent appropriate, students are to be educated together with non-disabled peers in a Least Restrictive Environment. However, in some cases, if a child needs more intensive services, schools are required to provide it. In rare situations that require students to be served in special schools, or at home, schools must adhere to continued provision of educational services (deFur, L. A., & Orelove, F. P. 2010).
The U.S. federal courts have interpreted least restrictive environment (LRE) clause. It highlights the of critical events in evolution of the LRE concept, in the case of Florence county school district four, and Shannon carter. The Respondent Shannon Carter,was classified as learning disabled in 1985, while he was a ninth grade student in a school that was operated by petitioner Florence County’s School District Four. The School officials met with the respondent’s parents to formulate a customized education program (IEP) for Shannon, as according to the IDEA. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1401(a)(18) and (20), 1414(a)(5) (1988 ed. and Supp. IV). IEP had a provision that Shannon would stay in the regular classes except for three periods of his customized instruction. The respondent was dissatisfied. They challenged the appropriateness of the IEP program (deFur, L. A., & Orelove, F. P. 2010).
Shannon’s parents filed a suit in July 1986, with a claim that the school district breached its duty under IDEA of providing Shannon with free appropriate public education. They also sought for reimbursement for tuition and other related costs incurred at the Trident school. After a bench trial, the District Court ruled in favor Shannon’s parents. The court held that though Trident Academy had not complied with all the procedures outlined in IDEA, the school had provide Shannon very excellent education in a substantial compliance with all the substantive requirements of the statute. The court rejected the school district’s argument to reimburse the cost expenses (Jones, N. L. 2013).
According to the Court of Appeals, neither the text of the Act nor its legislative history imposes a “requirement that the private school be approved by the state in parent-placement reimbursement cases. The court may order for reimbursement, for parents who decide to withdraw their child from public schools that offer an inappropriate IDEA and put their child in private schools which provide education that is proper under IDEA, this therefore affirms the judgment of the Court of Appeals (Crockett, J. B., & Kauffman, J. M. 2012)
Crockett, J. B., & Kauffman, J. M. (2012). The least restrictive environment its origins and interpretations in special education. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.
Jones, N. L. (2013). The Individuals with disabilities education act (IDEA) legal issues surrounding the least restrictive environment. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.
Special education rights and responsibilities (9th ed.). (20051992). San Francisco, Calif.: CASE ;.
deFur, L. A., & Orelove, F. P. (2010). Inclusive education: practical implementation of the least restrictive environment. Gaithersburg, Md.: Aspen Publishers.
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