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(7.15) What if the only educational placement the school district offers my child is a special center for students with disabilities operated by the county?

(7.15) What if the only educational placement the school district offers my child is a special center for students with disabilities operated by the county?

Districts must provide a full continuum of alternative placements to ensure that students receive services in the Least Restrictive Environment. This includes the following:

  1. Regular class placement;
  2. Regular class with resource or itinerant instructional services;
  3. Regular class with special education related services;
  4. Special classes or special schools (either of which often also involve the provision of related services);
  5. Nonpublic schools;
  6. State schools for students with “low incidence” disabilities; and
  7. Instruction in settings other than classrooms (such as in homes or hospitals)
    [34 C.F.R. Secs. 300.115 & 300.39; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56361.]

Longstanding federal and state policy have specifically forbidden placing a student in a segregated setting over a general education setting, if the placement decision is based on administrative factors and not on student needs. A district cannot use lack of appropriate placements as an excuse for denying students their right to an education in the least restrictive environment. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.39; Federal Policy Letter on LRE, Education for the Handicapped Law Reporter (EHLR) page 211:384, March 21, 1986; CDE, Office of Special Education, Policy Statement on Least Restrictive Environment (October 10, 1986).]