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January 11, 2007

Comments

John Cave, Sr

You may know the law in Illinois but not in New York. NY Civil Rights Law Section 47 Article 4B specifically states that no person may be denied access to any public place (including a school)because he or she is accompanied by a guide dog, hearing assistance dog or service assistance dog. Please also check the Human Rights laws in New York. It is clearly spelled out. We do not need to ask the districts permission or explain the need for the dog. Under the law because my son is deaf he is entitled to a hearing alert dog.

Ralph

As a Special Ed Attorney I would agree with both comments that the School does not have aright to exclude the service dog from school and has in my opinion illegally excluded the animal.
As far as the position of “we don’t have to tell them anything" this may be a technically correct statement, but even so there needs to be a diplomatic solution or at least a diplomatic overture. Getting the public on your side is an important advantage
If the parents are expressing a need for the dog because of the Student disability then in fact they will have to justify the dog as an educational accommodation for their son. If they stating that the dog is a service dog and it has been assigned to their son specifically for that purpose then the district may have violated the ADA ( Americans with Disabilities Act).
The parents should seek an immediate injunction against the school.
Also I might suggest that section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973 might afford the parent’s and the student a cause of action for discrimination based on their child’s disability, and the need for the service animal.
The District seems to be trying to rely on IDEA to say that the dog is an accommodation and it is not necessary for the child to access his educational program therefore they are not required under IDEA to provide for this.
It may be that he does need the animal to access the educational i.e; ability to get around the campus. 2. As a part of his emotional stability to calm him so he can access the curriculum 3. or some other articuable reason.
I would attend an IEP meeting if the animal is necessary for the Students education and exhaust my administrative remedies

I do not know which is more interesting in this story. The fact that the parents simply refused to explain why their son needed the dog in school or the fact that in New York a family would not be required to tell the school why the dog was needed. Both positions seem so extreme. In the first case, if the parents were going to make these kinds of statements, it seems they would want a lawyer present to explain the law. In New York, it seems that the family could at least give the school a heads up that a dog will accompany the child. In a related story, there was a story about a visual handicapped person having a miniature horse as its assistant. What would a school say about that?
ChrisM

Jean

How about allergies? If other students have severe allergies to dogs, how would this conflict be handled? Are health concerns a viable reason for restricting service animals? I have considered a service dog for our disabled son, but I would hate to have the dog blocked by the school . . . Would an allergy argument carry weight?

Ed. I would think that one way or another both student's intestests would need to be accomodated.

Charlie Fox

Connie Adams

I am amazed at what I am reading because I was employed in a school who had a trained dog for the blind in one of the classrooms. Get this; the dog was the teachers and the dog wasn't used for any purpose for any child. How is this allowed in a New York school and yet here is child who would benefit from having his dog with him? What laws justifies the teacher having her dog and this child denied??

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