Case Analysis: Sacramento City School Board of Education v. Rachel H.

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This assignment assesses your ability to:

  1. Evaluate how the foundations of the legal concept Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) currently influence students and educators in classrooms in the United States, and
  2. Summarize how the IDEA legislation can promote a collaborative decision-making process about special education placement and services in the United States.

This assignment also supports your achievement of Course Learning Outcome 4, 6, and 7 and the MASE Program Learning Outcome 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8.

The parents of Rachel Holland, an 11-year old girl, wanted their daughter educated in a general classroom with her non-disabled peers. Rachel was labeled as “mentally retarded” (Intellectually Disabled), with an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of 44. The school district proposed an alternative schedule where she would attend separate, self-contained classes for the academic subjects and participate in non-academic classes with her non-disabled peers. Rachel’s parents were not satisfied with this option so they enrolled her in a private school while they sought mediation (Kids Together, Inc., 2010).

This dispute, which became a major court case, is based on how the concept of the “Least Restrictive Environment” is defined and interpreted as intended by the IDEA. According to legislation:

The maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities… are educated with children who are not disabled and special classes [or] separate schooling… [only] occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability… is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. (U.S. Department of Education, n.d., para A)

Rachel’s parents believed that educating their daughter in the general classroom, with her non-disabled peers, was her least restrictive environment. The school felt that they could not satisfactorily meet her needs even with supplementary aids and services. Your required reading for this week describes the details of the case, the findings of the court and how this case has impacted the reasonable attempts that educators must make to place students with disabilities in fully inclusive settings to ensure their success.

Having heard unclear information through the school gossip chain, some of the teachers at your school have expressed questions regarding the issue of LRE. Since you have become a source of information your principal has requested that your make a presentation to the teachers at the next staff meeting.

Instructions
Read the article entitled, “Where to Evaluate Rachel Holland? Does Least Restrictive Environment Mean No Restrictions?” (DeMitchell & Kearns, 1997) which is accessible from the EBSCOhost database. Using support from this article, your course textbook, the Instructor Guidance, and supplemental information derived from the discussions you will create a presentation using Google Slides (Links to an external site.), Prezi (Links to an external site.), or PowerPoint that addresses the following components:

Content Expectations

  • Summarize the court case including each party’s perspective.
  • Explain the four factors, known as the “Rachel H. test.”
  • Describe how the “Rachel H. Test” is a collaborative decision-making process in determining special education placement decisions.
  • Justify or dispute the court’s final ruling.
  • Consider from your own experience what constitutes an appropriate setting for a student with a profile similar to Rachel H’s.
  • Clarify how this decision influences today’s determination of appropriate educational settings for students with disabilities?

Written Expectations

  • Syntax and Mechanics: Exhibit meticulous use of grammar, spelling, organization, and usage throughout your submission.
  • Source Requirement: Reference at least the two required reading sources in order to provide compelling evidence to support your ideas.
  • Slide Requirement: Your submission must be between 12-14 slides in length not including a title and reference page.
  • Graphics: Include creative use of graphics and colors to enhance your presentation.
  • APA format: All in text citations, page format and references must be written in APA 6th edition format.

Text

Osborne, A. G., & Russo, C. J. (2003). Special education and the law: A guide for practitioners (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Articles

DeMitchell, T., & Kearns, G. (1997). Where to educate Rachel Holland? Does least restrictive environment mean no restrictions? Clearing House, 70(3), 161-166. doi:10.1080/00098655.1997.10543918

Edwards, C. C., & Da Fonte, A. (2012). The 5-Point Plan. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44(3), 6-13.

Lake, J. F., & Billingsley, B. S. (2009). An Analysis of Factors that contribute to parent-school conflict in special education (Links to an external site.). Remedial and Special Education, 21(4), 240-251. Retrieved from https://journals-sagepub-com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/074193250002100407?

Wellner, L. (2012). Building parent trust in the special education setting. Leadership, 16-19 (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ971412.pdf

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