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Old 08-21-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
Anne MN
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OT Service dogs and schools

My DDs friend now has a service dog. her mom is having a hard time with the school district. the school district is trying to say that the dog is not allowed in school. they are also making her "test" the dog to see how he fits on the bus. it is a smaller bus- also picks up my DD and the neighbor both who have wheelchairs.
1 how does she deal with the district. she has already brought up ADA and they don't seem to care.
2 what laws- specific- can she quote them- if it makes a difference we are in WA.
3 can they deny her dog on the bus if they think he is too big? he is almost 100lbs. he is a registered service dog, fully trained.
wording about her taking the dog to school is also in her IEP that her new school has known about since early this year.

I know the DIS is the place to seek answers- I don't have experience with service animals- her "test" with the bus is monday.

thanks
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne MN View Post
My DDs friend now has a service dog. her mom is having a hard time with the school district. the school district is trying to say that the dog is not allowed in school. they are also making her "test" the dog to see how he fits on the bus. it is a smaller bus- also picks up my DD and the neighbor both who have wheelchairs.
1 how does she deal with the district. she has already brought up ADA and they don't seem to care.
2 what laws- specific- can she quote them- if it makes a difference we are in WA.
3 can they deny her dog on the bus if they think he is too big? he is almost 100lbs. he is a registered service dog, fully trained.
wording about her taking the dog to school is also in her IEP that her new school has known about since early this year.

I know the DIS is the place to seek answers- I don't have experience with service animals- her "test" with the bus is monday.

thanks
It is specifically written in the ADA that she cannot be limited by her dog. I'll hunt down my copy of the ADA to cite where it states that. Federal laws trump state laws, so regardless of what the state law says, the ADA takes precedence.

If there is alternative transportation available (for instance, if a parent can drive her to school), the county will almost certainly push for that. If not, then the county must provide transportation for her.

But as I said, let me dig up my copy of the ADA that specifies that she cannot be excluded because of her service dog.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:49 PM   #3
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thanks- I was also thinking of FAPE? fair and equal access to education. is that the right one or is it something different?
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:53 PM   #4
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The school has to allow the service dog. Where I taught we had a student who had a service dog and we had to allow the dog. The only downside was, we had to make sure the service dog was not in a classroom with someone who had severe allergy to dogs. I dont know many people who are allergic to dogs, but we did have a student who was allergic. Also, the child ended up eating lunch in a classroom since there was some hassle with the dog being in the cafeteria.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:56 PM   #5
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I just read this article today
http://www.bnd.com/news/local/story/891188.html

YOu may want to share it with you friend. Apparently wiht this article there is no question that real service dog are allowed in schools it was if the dog being discussed was in fact a service dog.

It does refference the laws about service dogs absolutely being allowed in schools.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:13 PM   #6
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I should mention that I was allowed to bring my guide dog in training to school with me for a day when I was in high school. It took some red tape, since he wasn't a service dog yet, but that's even included in the ADA (service dogs in training are to be considered equal to service dogs)
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:06 PM   #7
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If you go to the disABILITIES FAQs thread, there are links in post #3 to some resources regarding Service Dogs. Some of them are about WDW, but many are general links (like links to the Department of Justice and some to information sheets about rights regarding service dogs). The FAQs thread is near the top of this board or you can follow the link in my signature.

I would also suggest that you tell your friend to contact the PACER Center at http://www.pacer.org/
PACER is based in Minnesota, but it is a resource for the entire US for assistance with education rights. There are links on their website to resources and advocates in each state/region.
If the service dog is included in the IEP, the school district doesn't have a choice about following the IEP.

This is a link to the Transportation Handbook from the Takoma Washington School District - it mentions Service Dogs and does have some contact information. The people there might be helpful.

I can't find it, but I recently read an article about size of service dogs. There are some proposed changes to the current national laws about service dogs, which include possibly making a 'definition' of service dogs that would include size. I believe the top size was something like 80 or 85 pounds.
The reason for this is to make it easier for businesses to accommodate service dogs. With size guidelines, there it would be easier to see who was out of compliance because minimum sizes for areas for dogs to fit could be set.

I think it would be reasonable to 'test' the dog on the bus to see whether or not he fits. They still need to be able to manouver the wheelchairs on the bus and if the bus is small and the dog is big, that would impact their ability to place the wheelchairs and safely tie them down.
BUT, I don't think it would be the end of it if the dog doesn't work on the bus. I think they would still need to make some reasonable efforts at accommodation - maybe changing the order of pick up so she and her dog are the last on and first off. Maybe a different bus.
The PACER Center should be able to help with that.

FINALLY, since this is off topic for the disABILITIES Board, I am going to move it to the disABILITIES Community Board, where it will be on topic.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:06 PM   #8
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this district is not being nice. they are saying that they have to send out a letter to every student to notify of the service dog- fine. they have issues with what if's- someone has an allergy? what if someone is afraid. they are saying that it has to go to the board to vote on it. mom is talking about due process and poss getting JAG involved (DH is a soldier and we all live on a military post) school is the local high school. student has been in the district for a looong time.
there is also some history with a teacher- different school, NOT service dogs- therapy puppies in in training. different set of rules I know, but the person who raises the puppies is the one who is making a stink.

just trying to help mom out
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robynchic View Post
I should mention that I was allowed to bring my guide dog in training to school with me for a day when I was in high school. It took some red tape, since he wasn't a service dog yet, but that's even included in the ADA (service dogs in training are to be considered equal to service dogs)
That is not correct.
Only Service Dogs being used by someone with a disability have access protected by the ADA; it's not really the Service Dog that has any rights - it's the person with a disability who has needs that has the right to have a Service Dog.
A Service Dog in training has no rights under the ADA.
This website has a very good explanation of it.

Some individual states have laws allowing service dogs in training to have the same access as fully trained service dogs that are assisting a person with a disability. But, not every state does.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne MN View Post
this district is not being nice. they are saying that they have to send out a letter to every student to notify of the service dog- fine. they have issues with what if's- someone has an allergy? what if someone is afraid. they are saying that it has to go to the board to vote on it. mom is talking about due process and poss getting JAG involved (DH is a soldier and we all live on a military post) school is the local high school. student has been in the district for a looong time.
there is also some history with a teacher- different school, NOT service dogs- therapy puppies in in training. different set of rules I know, but the person who raises the puppies is the one who is making a stink.

just trying to help mom out
Here's some other resources I found - the owner of this website has quite a few references. This one is to Washington State Laws.
I'd suggest going to one of the US Department of Justice links in the disABILITIES FAQs thread (post #3 under service animals) and contacting someone there besides the PACER Center.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:50 PM   #11
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thanks for the links Sue-
the first one is "known" by service dog owners and advocates if you get my meaning.

will go wade thru the justice dept and the ADA

how are things in my home state? never thought I would say this, but I actualy missed real snow this winter. we got a little and everything shut down- they have no equipment to deal with snow and it just melted and refroze and made big ice rinks out of the roads!
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
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thanks for the links Sue-
the first one is "known" by service dog owners and advocates if you get my meaning.

will go wade thru the justice dept and the ADA

how are things in my home state? never thought I would say this, but I actualy missed real snow this winter. we got a little and everything shut down- they have no equipment to deal with snow and it just melted and refroze and made big ice rinks out of the roads!
No snow yet

It is nice to live somewhere that actually knows how to deal with snow. At least if you have to get some, it's nice when they can take care of it.
I am hoping we won't have any to take care of until at least the end of November!

There was actually a small tornado that set down in south Minneapolis on Thursday - the Electric Fetus lost some windows and had part of their roof fall in, to give you a possible landmark of where the damage was.
Otherwise, we are having a very strange summer. One day in the mid 90s, the next in the mid 70s.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:04 PM   #13
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I know exactly where that is- close to Abbott NW- I use to work there and passed by there a lot!

we have had wacky weather here most of the summer. it was 90+ on wed and 90 on thurs and was about 60 today with light rain. the rain here is just the very light mist, the annoying rain, NOT real rain like there. and we had thunder and lightning a few weeks ago! that never happens here with a storm- just rain-
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:06 AM   #14
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The only issues I could see ever being a real concern is if the child being accompanied by the dog couldn't control the dog or clean up after its toiletting. If that's the case, then there needs to be a handler along who CAN do those things. The dog must be able to be transported safely also so there would need to be an area where the dog could be tethered in case of a bus accident. Seems lately that I've seen newspaper reports of several incidences where schools have tried to deny SD's, which is very sad.---Kathy
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:24 PM   #15
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My son Zachary has an Autism Service dog who goes to school with him every day and has been for about two years. We have made accomodations for others in the district who have allergies (heppa filters, special vacuums, ect.) and things have been great. The kids in the school are great with Gemini ( our chocolate lab service dog) and love having her around.

My son is a flight risk and having Gemini is a safety measure as well as a calming influence on him. When he is tethered to her he is able to sit at a table and learn, otherwise he is all over the place and can't settle down. We have also had a delightful trip down to WDW with Gemini and it went great!

I'd be happy to share in more detail how our experience has been with service dogs and schools if you would like to PM me.

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