Placement should be the very
last thing decided at an IEP meeting. Only after a child's
strengths, needs, goals, related services, and
characteristics of service have been discussed can the
determination of placement be made.
Placement should not be
discussed at the beginning of an IEP meeting, nor should the
decision on placement be made by school personnel alone.
Placement is a decision made by the staffing team, which
includes the parent(s) of the child.
The following paragraphs from
the law have been interpreted to mean that every child with
a disability should start out in his/her neighborhood
school, in a general education, age-appropriate classroom,
with supplementary aids and services. Only if the child
cannot succeed/learn should the child be removed from that
environment to a more restrictive one.
Unfortunately, many schools
have reversed this policy, starting children with
disabilities in segregated, restrictive environments and
allowing them to be educated in least restrictive
environments when (a) the child "earns" his/her way out of
the special ed environment and/or (b) when the school feels
it has the resources to include children in the general
The Individuals with Disabilities Act is very clear on
"To the maximum extent
appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with
children who don't have disabilities. Special classes,
separate schooling, or other removal
of children with disabilities from the regular educational
environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the
disability is such that education in the regular classes
with the use of supplementary aids and services
cannot be achieved satisfactorily." Regulation 300.500
(Italics added.) ... AND... "Unless the
child's individualized education program requires some other
arrangement, the child is educated in the school which
he or she would attend if he/she didn't have a disability;
and in selecting the least restrictive environment,
consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on
the child or on the quality of services which he or she
needs." Regulation 300.522 (c) and (d) (Italics added.)
UNDERSTAND THE LAW - YOURSELF -
AND HELP OTHERS TO UNDERSTAND THAT: SPECIAL EDUCATION IS
NOT A PLACE!
SPECIAL EDUCATION IS
SUPPORTS AND SERVICES BROUGHT TO THE CHILD!