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(8.27) The district proposes to remove my child from school because of his behavior problems and is recommending home instruction as his placement. Can the district do this?

(8.27) The district proposes to remove my child from school because of his behavior problems and is recommending home instruction as his placement. Can the district do this?

Yes. However, any home instruction program must be individually designed to assure that progress toward goals and objectives continues, even if the program is being provided at the student’s home. The law also requires that students have access to (and make progress in) the general education curriculum. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i).] All the same procedures must be followed by the IEP team in developing an IEP for a student to be instructed at home as are followed for any other special education student. [U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Letter to Boney (1991) 18 IDELR 537.] State law has additional rules for providing home instruction to students with disabilities. The rules include the requirement that the IEP team have a report from a physician or psychologist that includes a projected date for the student’s return to school. [5 C.C.R. Sec. 3051.4.]

Home instruction is also available to general education students with temporary disabilities, and provides them with one hour of instruction per day. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 48206.3.] This service is different from individualized in-home placement and instruction under the IDEA for purposes of providing a FAPE to a child with disabilities. Both services are commonly referred to as “home/hospital instruction,” but home instruction for a student with an IEP must continue to provide a FAPE. [See Student v. Tehachapi Unified School District, OAH Case No. 2015060035.]

Home instruction, one of the most restrictive placements, is an educational program option available to students with disabilities who cannot be educated in a public school setting. Typically, students in this placement have significant health needs, a temporary illness or disability or significant behavioral challenges. This placement should not be used as a substitute for providing behavioral supports in a classroom setting. In recent guidance, OSERS stated that placement on home instruction may suggest that the child’s placement in the least restrictive environment may not be appropriate. [OSERS, Dear Colleague Letter on the Inclusion of Behavioral Supports in Individualized Education Plans, available at: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/files/dcl-on-pbis-in-ieps–08-01-2016.pdf.]