Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Hot Button Issue: Service Dogs

There are a growing number of cases involving service dogs. I have seen a few cases in the last couple years. An interesting example occurred last week. A school district in Illinois apparently refused to let a five year old boy with autism bring his service dog to school. The boy's parents filed a court action, and last Thursday the Judge entered an injunction against the school district. Like many states, Illinois by law permits service dogs in any public building. The Judge ordered the district to permit the service dog to accompany the boy to school. Some of the links in this paragraph will lead to the local news articles.

Service Dogs of Hawaii Fi-Do, Training Session...Image by BL1961 via Flickr

I think that many people are not aware of service dogs other than those who work for the visually impaired. I was at a conference a few years ago, and I learned a lot about service dogs. They really do a lot for many people with disabilities. Here is a great short video showing a service dog in action.

Are any of you aware of other legal actions involving service dogs? I believe that this is another area of special education law that is about to see some serious activity.

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  1. "In March 2008, the New York’s Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights (DHR) ruled that a school district’s refusal to allow a hearing impaired student to bring his service dog to school violated that state’s Human Rights Law."

    NSBA School Law pages on New York State Div. of Human Rights v. E ast Meadow Union Free Sch. Dist.


  2. I think service dogs should be allowed anywhere a disabled person needs them. Telling a disabled person they can't bring one with them is like telling you tou leave a certain piece of your body behind when you go somewhere.

  3. Thanks Anon,

    We appreciate your opinion.


  4. Replies
    1. The goal is to meet the educational needs of the student. If a service dog supports the needs of a student in the classroom then the service dog should be allowed.