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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the obligation in the federal special education law to provide education to children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. It describes the relevant statutory and regulatory provisions and the prominent cases, and explores ongoing scholarly controversies about the least restrictive environment requirement and its application. The chapter observes that disputes over the least restrictive environment for a given child are often disputes over the range of accommodations and services that the schools must provide so that appropriate education of a child with disabilities may be achieved without separating the child from peers who do not have disabilities. Both the text and the judicial interpretations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act operate in such a way that the negative command to not segregate students with disabilities becomes a positive command to afford services to make inclusive education work. The chapter concludes by briefly comparing the developments in the United States with those in other countries.

Keywords: Students with disabilities, Least restrictive environment, IDEA, Negative rights, Positive rights, Inclusion, Inclusive education, Reasonable accommodation, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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