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Must my child be placed in a "special" classroom when they receive an IEP?

You and the school district will jointly determine where your child is placed. However, your child is required by law to be in the least restrictive environment possible, which for most students is the regular classroom.

Where should I try to place my child?

You should try to place your child in regular classrooms as much of the time as possible. Administrators may insist that your child is either not academically equipped or not safe enough to be in the mainstream curriculum, but studies have shown that children with IEPs generally show more improvements when they receive an education like children without IEPs, provided they have the help they need.

Will my child not receive the help they need if they are in the mainstream curriculum?

Your child is required by law to receive the help they need to be able to succeed in the classroom, no matter where they are placed. However, the IEP team can determine that your child is unsafe or needs more special education than is necessary for the general curriculum. The way this help is received will be worked out at the IEP meeting.