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Miranda:  Is it lawful for districts to place all children with the same disabilities in the same type of setting?

For example: All children with Down Syndrome in the district are placed in self-contained classrooms.

Also, any ides as to where to get this type of information regarding placement? I have tried Freedom of Information Act at the city & state level, asking the special education director, and contacting the local advocacy group, as well as google. The response I have gotten is that no one keeps these records because they group children by educational level, not medical diagnosis, but someone must have this information, no?

  1. Sounds frustrating. Two ideas: (1) Rewrite your FOIA request. Sometimes they can wriggle out because the question didn’t match what they track. It doesn’t hurt to write your FOIA questions in a redundant way, tasking basically the same thing, but with four different descriptions. (2) If you file an OCR complaint and it is accepted for investigation, the district will be required to submit reams of paperwork to OCR, which you can FOIA later. However, if your concern is primarily about a specific child’s placement and supports, you may want to concurrently tackle it in a different way, since at least some regional OCR offices currently have a significant backlog. Note, if two other parents join your OCR complaint, it may have more impact.

  2. The IEP team is to determine the appropriate least restrictive environment (LRE) for each student on an individual basis. What you are describing seems to indicate that decisions are not made on an individual basis. Your state may have rules, & resources on making this decision on an individual basis. Your state parent training & information center can assist you.

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