Least Restrictive Environment and Specificity of Offer of Services

OAH case no. 2020060522,
Parent v. Los Angeles Unified School District

A family with a preschool-aged deaf and hard of hearing (“DHH”) student with cochlear implants sought to have the student placed in a school where she could be taught alongside typical hearing peers. This was crucial so that she could pick up the language of her peers in the classroom setting. The District offered a segregated classroom environment with only DHH students. The District tried to argue that it was the least restrictive environment because the classroom was on a public-school campus. They also argued that offering a service for 10 minutes per week, 1 -10 times, was specific enough. The Judge ruled that the law governing the least restrictive environment requires a student to be taught with non-disabled peers “to the maximum extent possible.” Additionally, under the case Union and its progeny, services must be specific as to whether they are individual or in a group and must be specific as to frequency and duration, so parents have a clear understanding of what is being offered.

The Judge ruled that the District was required to fund the student’s placement for the year and to pay for the specific services at that placement.

Read the full decision.

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