Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Why is Least Restrictive Environment Important?

Special education is full of acronyms. One of the most valuable set of letters may be LRE. Least Restrictive Environment requires that a student learns with nondisabled peers for as much of the day as appropriate for the child. In basic terms, LRE refers to the setting where a child with a disability can receive an appropriate education designed to meet his or her educational needs, alongside peers without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate.

Placement Options

If it is determined that a student with a disability cannot remain in the general education setting with supplementary aids and services for all or a portion of the school day, a full continuum of alternative placements as set forth below shall be available to meet the needs of the student. Alternative educational program options include placement in the following:

  1. Single subject resource programs outside the general education class;
  2. A special class program in the student's local school district;
  3. A special education program in another local school district;
  4. A special education program in a vocational and technical school; or
  5. A special education program in county special services school district or educational services commission.

When should a change occur?

Special classes, separate schooling or another removal of a student with a disability from the student's general education class occurs only when the nature or severity of the educational disability is such that education in the student's general education class with the use of appropriate supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Do we have to try every setting?

No. Child Study Teams must consider placement that provides the most opportunity to learn alongside peers without disabilities. Each board of education shall ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, a student with disabilities is educated with children who are not disabled. (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-4.2(a)

Meaningful Peer Relationships

Each district board of education shall provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in the manner necessary to afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in those services and activities.

In providing or arranging for the provision of nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, each district board of education shall ensure that each student with a disability participates with non-disabled children in those services and activities to the maximum extent appropriate.

Remember!

A student with a disability is not removed from the age-appropriate general education classroom solely based on needed modifications to the general education curriculum. Placement in a program option is based on the individual needs of the student!

Tips on How to Ensure your Child is Placed Correctly

Special classes, separate schooling or another removal of a student with a disability from the student’s general education class occurs only when the nature or severity of the educational disability is such that education in the student’s general education class with the use of appropriate supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-4.2(a)2)