Child and adult at a table
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden

Issues of segregation and limited education opportunities face all students with disabilities in the 21st Century. Minority students face even greater issues. Minority students, especially African American male children, continue to be significantly overrepresented in those children labeled "developmentally disabled" and "emotionally disturbed." They are also far more likely to be educated in segregated special education settings. "To the extent that minority students are misclassified, segregated, or inadequately served, special education can contribute to a denial of equality of opportunity, with devastating results in communities throughout the nation."

Bridges4kids in Michigan offered the following reasons why many states and local districts are still out of compliance with the Least Restrictive Environment requirement under IDEA

Our local school systems have failed to demonstrate (or to even attempt to ensure) that every attempt is made to provide the services specified in the IEP in the school that students would attend if they did not have a disability and with children who do not have disabilities.

They have also failed to demonstrate that removal occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that such education in regular class with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.