Are We Warehousing Students for Social Reasons?

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I see the social aspect of inclusion as the priority over the educational aspect.  I have concerns about the inclusion “movement” disallowing for appropriate services, i.e. cognitively delayed students who would not be receiving remediation if placed in a regular classroom setting.

I am concerned that we are no longer addressing the student’s unique needs and are “warehousing” them for social reasons.

I do not see inclusion as a movement.  It is a word that is not in the statute. For a better understanding, read the actual definition of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) in the statute.   For more depth, see the federal regulations.

You’ll find 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(5) in your law book on p. 72 and 34 CFR § 300.114 on p. 207.

“While the Act and regulations recognize that IEP teams must make individualized decisions about the special education … IDEA’s strong preference that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities be educated in regular classes with their nondisabled peers with appropriate supplementary aids and services.”

LRE Varies for Each Child

Least restrictive environment will vary from one child to the next. LRE may even vary with the same child, over a span of time.

1. For some children, such as Shannon Carter, the least restrictive environment was a private residential school of LD/dyslexic children who were taught basic reading, writing, arithmetic, and spelling skills in a highly segregated restrictive setting.

2. For other children, the least restrictive may be a regular education program with supports, services, aides, etc.

3. And for other children, especially with autism, it can be both.  Some of these children need very intense, one on one, ABA Lovaas type therapy 40 hours a week.

Usually after approximately two years of such therapy, they can make a gradual transition into regular public school programs with an aide, also known as a “shadow” who is well versed in ABA principles.

Perhaps eventually, they will move out of special education and be supported fully in a regular education environment, with no special education required.

You’ll find A Simplified Guide to Key Legal Requirements of LRE in this Pacer Center information sheet.

  1. Is it legal under IDEA for a district to move disability services to a different high school than a student currently attends and is zoned for and require him to be bused to that school or else he will not receive services? If not, I really need to know which legal statue to refer to. We are in Florida.

    • Unless FL has some rules or court ruling that this is not allowed without parent approval, it is not illegal. If everything stays the same at the new school this is a change of location, & not a change of placement. If there are other issues involved your state parent training and information center can assist you.

  2. Inclusion has become the only word used for ESE students in Florida and Duval County. My son has been in a self contained class on special standards since K and now at 8th grade he is thrown into an inclusion class with very little support and regular standards. And they state, county and school are going to wonder why he is failing….
    It’s a real joke…. but not at all funny!!!!

    My five year old son is transitioning into Kindergarten this fall. My three older kids have gone to this school, and as they are gifted, have had the red carpet rolled out for them. The school offers one program for children with disabilities and that is placement in a self-contained classroom. They finally, after two IEP meetings, where we continuously asked for data to support this decision, agreed to allow him half a day in reg ed kindergarten. However, they want to do it 15 to 30 minutes at a time all throughout the day! This seems like sabotage, and they refuse to consider any accommodations in reg ed. You should hear the things we have them on tape saying. I have a meeting with the special ed director and principal next week. Any advice?

  4. One form of “warehousing” is a variety of co-teaching in which a special ed teacher is in the regular classroom working with kids with IEPs to prop them up so they can complete the work, turn it in, and hopefully pass the tests. Yes, the kids may have some skill-building within this model, but just as often, there’s little or no remediation. The kid gets a passing grade, the kid graduates. But is the kid ready to work INDEPENDENTLY in college? Does the kid learn self-advocacy skills? How/when/where do transition plans get worked into this model?

  5. My daughter exhibits extreme and severe anxiety around other children in a classroom setting. She withdraws into herself and self-injures. Her LRE is the resource room and she is happy, playful and academically thriving in a classroom with very few children in it.

    Interestingly, at lunch and on the playground, she enjoys “people-watching” and has a group that sits with her at lunch and then plays with her when she is outside. She thrives there as well.

    Next year, we hope to start increasing her tolerance to sitting near other children.

    LRE is very individual and works best when parents are in touch with what is happening at school.

  6. Re “warehousing for social reasons”. We are social beings. Is it possible to think that educating social interaction is far supperior than “life skills” (typically better taught at home)? Don’t forget the other children are being taught something far greater as well. Some of these children make a greater impact on society than most people.

    Then again, it is easier to be sold a product or program and feel better about ourselves.

  7. I agree that we are currently warehousing some kids. But it is not for social reasons. My younger son is warehoused because treating him with ABA from qualified providers is too expensive. He probably will never be gainfully employed unless he gets the 40 hours/week of ABA services you spoke of, but he never got more than 20 hours, and currently receives 10. The District is fighting tooth and nail to reduce this further because they feel he is too old to benefit.

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