supreme-court-and-deaf-education

Last time the Supreme Court reviewed the least restrictive
environment (LRE) for deaf mainstreamed students was in
1982. And even at that, no one could agree on exactly
what the LRE level was supposed to be.

In Amy Rowley’s case, she was given hearing aids but not given
interpreters. While she was doing very well in the classroom,
it was said she could have done better if given interpreters.

In the viewpoints of some justices, LRE means minimum, not
maximum level of accommodations – but left it to individual
states to determine what their LRE’s are supposed to be.
This being said, the justices refrained from insisting on a
national LRE tests for all mainstreamed students.

For that reason, each (of eleven) circuit court determines
what the LRE level should be. Some set an appropriate
standard, others set a level below standard; others
couldn’t agree, and one evaded the issue!

When Rowley lost the case, the family simply moved
from one circuit (New York – not favorable) to another
circuit (New Jersey – more favorable) so that Amy
would get the accommodations that New York refused.