Autistic boy's service dog not allowed at school

Page 1 of 1 [ 9 posts ] 

MizLiz
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Nov 2008
Age: 34
Gender: Female
Posts: 964
Location: USA

13 Apr 2009, 6:16 pm

Okay, this is near my town so I was wondering what I could do to help. He's not epileptic or blind so maybe they figure he doesn't "need" the dog. I was wondering where his mom could go for legal advice (ACLU?) or what she could say to pressure them.

The story sounds like such bs



LabPet
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 4 Jan 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,824
Location: Canada

13 Apr 2009, 8:37 pm

Very good question, and good you addressed this. There is certainly advocacy for this situation, and the problem can be more wide-spread than one might suspect.

First, that his school is not allowing a Service Dog is technically illegal - they simply do not have the authority to do this. But in any case, his mum, dad, or another caring other (maybe MizLiz) can go to either your local Disability Law Center &/or DVR (= Division of Vocational Rehab) & ADA (American's w/ Disabilities Act) - DVR/ADA are linked. Also the boy's medical provider can give verifcation to facilitate this process.

If the family can afford, then they may go to a private lawyer. Also, the local chapter of Easter Seals, NAMI, local state representative (or ombudsman) and your local United Way. And contact dircectly the School Board (not the principal or teacher who doesn't know a thing).

Disability Law will assign a worker and this can be fixed! The family (& dog) can get a license that is above & beyond whatever school says - they're out of bounds. Also, check into the place where he received the dog; that agency ought to be able to direct family to go for authorization. He can carry on his person a license and the dog as well.

Believe it or not...this has happened: Autistic individual w/ Service Dog was using the public bus system (yes! Service Dogs are allowed on the public bus - that's what they're for). He was told he could not enter the bus with his Service Dog (the Dog has his service vet, etc) by a BUS DRIVER!! That driver has no authority whatsoever. Situation was fixed, but the guy had to walk, then someone called a cab. Geez.

Sometimes people (who have NO authorization whatsoever) feel that Service Dogs are only for the blind. Wrong. And it's none of their business anyway.

I hope that helps - he needs that dog.


_________________
The ones who say “You can’t” and “You won’t” are probably the ones scared that you will. - Unknown


cognito
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 675

13 Apr 2009, 8:45 pm

well, if they are ever told they can't, politlely inform them of the law, citing chapter and paragraph and then remind them that denying you entrace or use because of your service animal is illegal and then ask for their name and inform them that they may be named in a law suit, douche baggish? yes, effective? very.


_________________
I am a freak, want to hold my leash?


GreatCeleryStalk
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 529

13 Apr 2009, 8:48 pm

There's a difference between a service animal and a comfort animal. If it's recognized as a service animal, there are very limited situations where the animal can be forbidden. Comfort animals are not federally protected. Service animals are specially trained to a) provide a service to a disabled user and b) to avoid disturbing others and to behave in an appropriate manner.

edit:

It's an issue that we're also dealing with in higher education, at least on the student affairs side. I've done some work with our disability accommodations folks on the subject, and there's not really any profession-wide consensus on these kinds of animals; they're not yet accorded the same status as a service dog for the blind or epileptic.

The article doesn't go in to enough detail about how the animal was trained, but it seems to indicate that the dog might qualify as a service animal.



LabPet
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 4 Jan 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,824
Location: Canada

13 Apr 2009, 9:07 pm

^ Yes, that's true. I guess that would need to be established first. But I hope he gets to have his animal allowed, which is based upon need, not want.

Ironic...they allow humans (who are animals...) but not Service (or comfort) Animals. And many humans are certainly not Servicable nor Comfortable.

I'm still pursuing....Service Tarantula is looking like a good option.


_________________
The ones who say “You can’t” and “You won’t” are probably the ones scared that you will. - Unknown


GreatCeleryStalk
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 529

13 Apr 2009, 9:23 pm

The main problem with comfort animals is that they lack the proper training; service animals are trained not to be a nuisance or disturb others and are extremely well behaved. Comfort animals are often household pets, and they don't really provide a service to the user in the same way as a service animal.



riverotter
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Age: 51
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,051
Location: the frosty midwest

13 Apr 2009, 10:24 pm

The article states the dog is a "certified service dog." Here is a PDF describing some similar cases that would have set precedent in these matters. These school officials sound ignorant.



cognito
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 675

13 Apr 2009, 10:29 pm

if it is a servie animal, always have the legal citation with you and just whip it out and explain that if they continue doing so, they are violating federal law and are liable for tort action.


_________________
I am a freak, want to hold my leash?


MizLiz
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Nov 2008
Age: 34
Gender: Female
Posts: 964
Location: USA

13 Apr 2009, 11:05 pm

It's definitely a service dog. It cost the family something like 10 grand for it. In fact, the school even had fundraisers to help the family buy it.

:?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:


Uhhhh... talk about mixed signals.

So what I think I'll do to start is write a letter to the editor thanking the paper for running the story and condemning the actions of the schoolboard and saying stuff like how it's a necessary part of the kid's wellbeing. I'm not sure if the online article was the same as the article in the paper that I read, but he's self-harming and apparently having the dog around to keep him calm is the only thing that keeps him from doing his really bad stim that makes him beat up his hands or something (the article didn't go into much detail, but that's what I got).