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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (2005) mandates that school boards provide all students with disabilities with a free appropriate public education (FAPE). In so doing, school boards must maintain a “continuum of alternative placements.” The continuum should range from placements within general education classrooms to private residential facilities to homebound instruction and instruction in hospitals or institutions. In addition, when school staff write an individualized education program (IEP) for a child with disabilities that specifies an alternative placement for the child, this placement must be in the least restrictive environment (LRE) in which the child can function.

Moreover, students with disabilities can be removed from the general education environment only to the extent necessary to provide special education services. All placements must be at ...

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