Laws & Guidance SPECIAL EDUCATION & REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
OSEP Policy Documents Regarding the Education of Infants, Toddlers, Children and Youth with Disabilities

LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT

Note: Letters issued prior to December 3, 2004, may not be consistent with the IDEA, as revised by P.L. 108-446. Letters issued prior to August 14, 2006 may not be consistent with the final regulations for Part B published on that date at 71 Federal Register 46540. Readers are advised to consult with the current statute and final regulations.

Section 607 Reports as published in the Federal Register.


December 4, 2012 to Texas Education Agency General Counsel David Anderson
TOPIC ADDRESSED: Least Restrictive Environment
SECTION OF IDEA: Part B—Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities; Section 612—State Eligibility
MS Word (40KB) | PDF (1MB)


June 22, 2012 to Disability Rights Wisconsin Managing Attorney Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick.
TOPIC ADDRESSED: Least Restrictive Environment
SECTION OF IDEA: Part B—Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities; Section 612—State Eligibility
MS Word (32KB) | PDF (69KB)


February 29, 2012 to Dear Colleagues.
TOPIC ADDRESSED: Least Restrictive Environment
SECTION OF IDEA: Part B—Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities; Section 612—State Eligibility
download files MS Word (49KB) | PDF (70KB)


Letter to Martha Frank
July 9, 2008
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment.
Letter clarifying the factors that must be considered when a parent requests a public placement for their child at a private postsecondary institution.
MS Word (22K) | PDF (75K)


Letter to Roberta Wohle
February 1, 2008
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment
Letter clarifying reporting on indicators in the State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Reports relating to the least restrictive environment provisions in Part B of IDEA.
MS Word (26K) | PDF (106K)

Letter to Tom Trigg
November 30, 2007
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment
Letter clarifying the placement requirements in Part B of IDEA.
MS Word (26K) | PDF (106K)


Letter to Mrs. Barbara Gantwerk
November 4, 2003
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment
Letter regarding the least restrictive environment provisions of the IDEA and the placement of children with disabilities in segregated settings, with parental approval.
MS Word (31K) | PDF (63K)


Redacted letter
July 23, 2003
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment
Letter clarifying that neither the IDEA nor its implementing regulations define the term ''regular classes'' nor do they limit the number, or percentage, of students with disabilities that may be placed into a specific regular classroom in order to provide FAPE in the least restrictive environment, consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR 300.550-300.556.
MS Word (26K) | PDF (84K)


Redacted letter
July 1, 2003
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment
Letter clarifying that, under the IDEA, private schools are not subject to the same admission policies which apply to public schools and services plans are prepared only for private school children with disabilities who are designated to receive services.
MS Word (26K) | PDF (102K)


>Letter to Leslie S. Margolis, Esq.
June 26, 2003
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment
Letter clarifying that OSEP does not intervene in state decisions regarding construction of new schools and that there are no statutory or regulatory provisions which require a state to take certain steps before concluding there is no viable alternative to construction of a new separate facility.
MS Word (25K) | PDF (132K)


Redacted letter
May 22, 2000
Topic: Least Restrictive Environment
Letter clarifying that under the IDEA amendments of 1997, the first placement option considered for each disabled student is the regular classroom with appropriate supplementary aids and services.
MS Word (25K) | PDF (132K)

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Last Modified: 12/01/2014