LRE is an acronym that stands for least restrictive environment.  IDEA does not define “least restrictive environment” in its definitions section. However, it requires that each student receive special education and related services in the “least restrictive environment” and describes what this means. These provisions appear in the final Part B regulations at §§300.114 through 300.120, as part of IDEA’s provisions addressing “State Eligibility.” The core of IDEA’s LRE provisions are at §300.114, cited below.

§300.114 LRE requirements.

(a) General. (1) Except as provided in §300.324(d)(2) (regarding children with disabilities in adult prisons), the State must have in effect policies and procedures to ensure that public agencies in the State meet the LRE requirements of this section and §§ 300.115 through 300.120.

(2) Each public agency must ensure that—

(i) To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and

(ii) Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

(b) Additional requirement—State funding mechanism—(1) General. (i) A State funding mechanism must not result in placements that violate the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section; and

(ii) A State must not use a funding mechanism by which the State distributes funds on the basis of the type of setting in which a child is served that will result in the failure to provide a child with a disability FAPE according to the unique needs of the child, as described in the child’s IEP.

(2) Assurance. If the State does not have policies and procedures to ensure compliance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the State must provide the Secretary an assurance that the State will revise the funding mechanism as soon as feasible to ensure that the mechanism does not result in placements that violate that paragraph.

For more information on LRE

Partners Resource Network offers a suite of information about LRE and its role in determining children’s placement (where they will receive FAPE and needed special education and related services). The suite includes a short-and-sweet overview; a detailed summary of the interplay between LRE, FAPE, and placement; and how school disciplinary actions can affect a child’s placement.

Where will a student with a disability receive his or her special education and related services? IDEA requires placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for each child, a setting that is based on the child’s IEP. Use the options and paths below to find out more about:

  • who decides placement;
  • how they decide it;
  • what LRE is and why it’s a foundation element in IDEA and in deciding a child’s placement; and
  • how placement can be affected if a child with a disability violates certain codes of student content.

Placement, in overview. Here are the basics, if you please.

LRE in Placement Decisions
LRE–least restrictive environment–is a foundational principle in IDEA. What is LRE, and how does it shape placement decisions? This discussion takes a detailed look.

School Inclusion
Looking for information about, and best practices for, the inclusion of students with disabilities in regular classrooms and in the daily activities of school?

Placement and School Discipline
How is a child’s placement affected when he or she is being disciplined for a violation of the student code? Find out what authority school personnel have to remove a child from his or her current placement, what authority the hearing officer has, what constitutes a change of placement, and what placement the child will have during any appeal.

Discipline, in Detail
Here are all the details on IDEA’s discipline procedures, which guide how schools respond to behavioral infractions of children with disabilities.

IDEA’s Disciplinary Regulations
Not a summary of IDEA’s disciplinary procedures. Oh no, these are the real thing.