When the parent wants the more restrictive environment….

It’s a fundamental principle of IDEA that students are to be served in the LRE, the Least Restrictive Environment.  Usually that’s what parents want, but sometimes the parents think that their child would be better off in an MRE—a More Restrictive Environment.  This came up in a recent federal court case.

The parents objected to the student being in the mainstream for science and social studies.  The district’s response to that is a textbook example of how to offer a “cogent and responsive” answer to justify its position. For one thing, the student earned good grades, passing both of these subjects.  Furthermore, the teacher testified that the student participated in collaborative projects, learned to be around her peers, improved her social skills, participated in class discussions, and learned by observing how other students navigated the mainstream classroom.  The parents expressed concern about bullying, but it had never been reported to or seen by anyone at the district. 

That’s a good checklist of indicators that the mainstream placement is the LRE.  The court also noted that the student was not disruptive and did not require a disproportionate amount of attention from the teacher.

It’s Thurman G. v. Sweetwater ISD, on SpecialEd Connection at 121 LRP 25687.


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at jwalsh@wabsa.com