What must be considered?
In determining the educational placement of a child with a disability, a school district must ensure that:
The placement decision is made by a group of persons, including the parents, and other persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options, and takes into account the requirement that children be educated in the least restrictive environment;
Placement is determined annually, is based on the child’s IEP, and is as close as possible to the child’s home;
Unless the IEP specifies otherwise, the child attends the school that he or she would if non-disabled;
In selecting the least restrictive environment, consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and
A child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum. (34 C.F.R. § 300.116.)
A school district must make available a continuum of placement options. (20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(5); 34 C.F.R. 300.115.) In California, this includes instruction in regular education programs, resource specialist programs, designated instruction and services, special classes, and nonpublic, nonsectarian school services, among others not at issue here. (Ed. Code, § 56361.) The continuum of alternative placements is intended to ensure that a child with a disability is served in a setting where the child can be educated successfully in the least restrictive environment appropriate for them. (71 Fed. Reg. 46,586-46,587 (2006).)