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One of the key mandates of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is that all students with disabilities are to be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This requirement applies across the continuum of placement alternatives that a school board needs to maintain under the statute.

In particular, the IDEA requires states, and consequently school boards, to set up procedures ensuring that students with disabilities are educated to the maximum extent appropriate with children who do not have disabilities. The IDEA further directs that students with disabilities be placed in special classes or separate facilities, or otherwise be removed from the general education environment only when the nature or severity of their disabilities is such that instruction in general education classes cannot be achieved ...

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