FILE:  IDDFA

 

SERVICE ANIMALS IN SCHOOLS

 

 

The Plaquemines Parish School Board does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and acknowledges its responsibility to permit students and/or other individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in and benefit from School Board services, programs, and activities.  The School Board shall permit the use of service animals by students and other individuals with disabilities when necessary in order to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability in accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and its implementing regulations at 28 CFR 35.

 

A service animal is defined as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  Service animals are working animals, not pets.  The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.  Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort, emotional support, well-being, or companionship or whose presence is to provide a crime deterrent effect do not qualify as service animals under the ADAAA or this policy.  Under appropriate circumstances and as determined on an individual basis, the School Board shall make reasonable modifications to its practices and procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.  Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, shall not be considered service animals.

 

Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents the use of such devices.  The individual with a disability must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective commands when the use of harnesses or other such devices cannot be utilized due to interference with functional use of the service animal.

 

Because the School Board is responsible for the health and safety of school-age minors with and without disabilities who have limited options regarding classroom and school assignments, requests for an individual with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal on school premises or during school-related activities must first:  (1) be submitted in writing to the Superintendent or his/her designee; (2) specify the need for use of the service animal; and (3) identify the work or tasks performed for the individual with a disability by the service animal.  Such written request shall be required not less than ten (10) school days prior to the proposed use of the service animal and prior to bringing the service animal onto School board property or to a school-related activity.  A determination as to whether a service animal is permitted on School Board property or at school-related activities shall be based on multiple factors and shall be determined on a case-by case basis following procedures approved by the Superintendent or his designee(s).

 

Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by a service animal in those areas of School Board property that are generally open to the public or to participants in School Board programs, services, or activities.

 

The School Board reserves its right to request removal of a service animal from its premises and/or its programs, services, and activities if:  (1) the animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it; or (2) the animal is not housebroken.  Any individual with a disability whose service animal is excluded by the School Board shall be offered an opportunity to participate in such programs, services, or activities without the service animal.

 

A service animal shall be considered the personal property of the individual with a disability.  The School Board shall not be responsible for the training, daily care, feeding, healthcare, or supervision of a service animal.  Consistent with general policies of the School Board, an individual with a disability may be responsible for damages caused by his/her service animal while on school property or during school-related activities.

 

The School Board reserves its right to require proof that all dogs (including service animals), cats, and ferrets with whom children may come into contact while at school have been vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian in accordance with State law and administrative regulations promulgated by the Louisiana Department of Public Health.

 

Other regulations and/or procedures shall be maintained by the Superintendent and designated staff.  Affected individuals may obtain additional information by contacting the School Board’s Section 504/ADA/ADAAA Coordinator and/or by visiting the School Board’s official website.

 

New policy:  March 13, 2017

 

 

Ref:    42 USC 12101 (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)

28 CFR 35 (Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services)

Board minutes, 3-13-17

 

Plaquemines Parish School Board