Least Restrictive Environments (LRE)

Means that a student who has a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate. They should have access to the general education curriculum, or any other program that non-disabled peers would be able to access. The student should be provided with supplementary aids and services necessary to achieve educational goals if placed in a setting with non-disabled peers. To determine what an appropriate setting is for a student, a team will review the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs, and consider the educational benefits from placement in any particular educational setting. With the differences in needs varying broadly, there is no single definition of what an LRE will be, and each student has an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Least restrictive environment is identified in the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as one of the six principles that govern the education of students with disabilities and other special needs. By law, schools are required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to the individual student's needs.

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