D.R. v. Redondo Beach Unified School District

Filed: March 3, 2022

Court: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Overview: The District Court denied D.R., a student with a disability, a more inclusive placement because he failed to demonstrate “appropriate educational benefit” from inclusion in general education. The amicus brief argues that, by placing the onus on students to prove that they can benefit from general education, the District Court would overturn fifty years of Congressional and judicial consensus that students with disabilities should be educated in inclusive settings “whenever possible.”

Excerpt: “The IDEA’s language, legislative history, and judicial interpretation speak with one voice: ‘To the maximum extent appropriate,’ students with disabilities must be educated ‘with children who are not disabled.’ This robust presumption of inclusion is reflected in the IDEA’s procedural requirements, which require Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to account affirmatively for ‘the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class.’ The IDEA codified an emerging consensus from landmark special education cases that schools must educate students with disabilities in integrated settings wherever possible. Congress later amended the IDEA to further strengthen the LRE requirement in light of new education research, describing it as ‘a presumption that children with disabilities are to be educated in regular classes.’…The presumption of inclusion is so robust that it may even justify placement in general education in the rare case where the more restrictive setting may be educationally superior.”

Case Documents

D.R. v. Redondo Beach Unified School District Amicus Brief