The IDEA regulations put an emphasis on students being served at their home campus. Courts, hearing officers, and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) have allowed schools to place some groups of students with disabilities on one or more campuses with non-disabled students rather than on every campus.
However, the law and regulations put a priority on the concept of students being educated with their peers and in the general education classroom to the extent possible. There also must be a “continuum of alternative placements” within the school. Also a child with a disability is not to be “removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.”
Parents should ask for the rationale for this practice and if exceptions are made and under what circumstances. Chances are the district has made exceptions for specific students. The parent could then discuss at least an exception for part of the day. Placement decisions are to be individualized and should be reviewed periodically. One size fits all models are not individualized. Circumstances/needs could have changed so that the student could be returned to the home campus at least part of the day.
Education Service Center 20 has developed a Question & Answer document on LRE to assist schools with this issue. It can be found at http://www.esc20.net/users/0045/docs/AGC/LRE-QA.pdf
Possible Parent Comments
“Decisions about each student with a disability are to be individualized. The placement decision for my child does not appear to be individualized.”
“Why do you feel that this decision is appropriate for my child?”
“What happens if I disagree with this placement?”
“We have identified my child’s needs as ____, why can these not be addressed at his home campus?”
“How much inclusion with nondisabled students will there be?”
“I am requesting that my child receive some services on his home campus beginning immediately or after X months?”
“What actions by my child and the school would be needed to allow them to return here part-time or full-time?”