This article examines the increase in segregated placements in the New South Wales government school sector. Using disaggregated enrolment data, it points to the growing overrepresentation of boys in special schools and classes, particularly those of a certain age in certain support categories. In the discussion that follows, the authors question the role of special education in the development of new and additional forms of being 'at risk'. In effect, they invert the traditional concept by asking: who is at risk of what? In focusing on the containment of risk, are modern practices of diagnosis and segregation perpetuating risks that already disproportionately affect certain groups of individuals? Do these perceptions of and responses to risk in local schools now place these students at greater personal risk of school failure and a future marked by social exclusion? And, finally, is that risk worth the cost?.