Under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), there is a concept outlined called the Least Restrictive Environment, or LRE. The same concept also exists under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. For the purposes of this article, we will be discussing the LRE under the IDEA.

There are two elements to Least Restrictive Environment: Classroom integration and neighborhood placement. Prior to the school placing any student with a disability in special classes, separate schools, or otherwise removing the student from the regular educational environment, the school must consider using supplemental aids and services to help the student succeed in the regular classroom. Similarly, the same applies for neighborhood placement. The student should attend the school he or she would have attended if they did not have a disability. Furthermore, if the student is unable to attend their own neighborhood school, they should attend a school as close to their home as possible.