Schools and local authorities continued to take their time to implement the law. Many schools and districts have been educating students with disabilities in segregated settings for years, yet families often have to fight to get their children into general education classrooms and inclusive environments.

Children and adults interacting
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden.

This in spite of the fact that court cases have determined that families do not have to prove to the school that a student with disabilities can function in the general classroom. In Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District (1993), for example, the U.S. circuit court determined that the neighborhood school had not supplied a student with the supports and resources he needed to be successful in an inclusive classroom. The judge also ruled that the school had failed to provide appropriate training for his educators and support staff. The court placed the burden of proof for compliance with the law's inclusion requirements squarely on the school district and the state instead of on the family. In other words, the school had to show why this student could not be educated in general education with aids and services, and his family did not have to prove why he could. The federal judge who decided the case stated, "Inclusion is a right, not a special privilege for a select few."