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Request for Service Dogs in School

Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.

Appendix: Information for Employees, Parents/Guardians requesting a service dog in school

I. The success of the implementation or visit of a service dog into a school setting depends on clear communication, a well-informed school community and careful planning. The information you provide will assist the building principal and the appropriate staff (SPED Coordinator / ADA Manager) to make the best possible decisions for you, the employee, the  volunteers and visitors at the school. The information will be filed in your Douglas County Record or your child's records.

I understand (if applicable) that the presence of a service dog may present competing educational rights between my student and other students at school. These issues may present at any time, and I understand that the Building Principal and the SPED Coordinator/ADA Manager must manager them immediately.

 I will:

  • participate in meetings requested of me by the Building Principal/ SPED Coordinator or ADA Manager;
  • authorize the school to disclose information as necessary to balance competing educational interests and integrate the dog into the classroom and the school environment.
  • I understand that for the safety and protection of students and staff, which is necessary for the safe operation of the school, the school may revoke access because:

               - One of the criteria above is not present.

               - The service dog displays aggression or appears to be an imminent threat to the safety or health of any person in the school. If this occurs the Building Principal/ SPED Coordinator and/or  the ADA                   Manager will immediately contact me to remove the dog from the school property and summon Animal Control.

               - The adult handler fails to follow the Building Principal's / SPED Coordinator's and/or ADA Manager's instructions.

  • I understand that the service dog owner is solely liable for any damage to persons, premises, or facilities that were caused by the service dog. I will hold, the district, its employees or agents harmless for any injury to, including death of, the service dog, unless the damages are a result of gross negligence on the part of the district. In this case liability to the district for damages is limited to property damage and veterinarian costs.

II. The information you provide will help the Building Principal to implement your request. It is important to provide the information that addresses the safety of the students and staff. For example, the Building Principal needs to know that the dog has no history of nipping, biting, or growling at children or adults, nor exhibits aggressive protective behaviors.

III. The well-being of the dog is also very important. Its care, handling and training needs to be addressed, and your input as trained handler is valuable. The Building Principal also needs to know what other resources are available to facilitate the transition to school and the implementation of the plan. Strategies for becoming familiar with the building and school grounds, introduction to assembles/concerts, recess and staff rooms (if applicable), and informing the staff about interacting with the dog will need to be included in the planning to be as consistent and fair to the dog as possible. NOTE: A school is not a training facility for service dogs that have not finished their training. The training itself needs to happen outside of school. The handler needs to be in full control before a transition training with the dog can be considered and integrated in the plan.

IV. The Building Principal, with assistance, will develop a communication plan that informs students, staff and community members as appropriate. Additionally, training and education will be conducted to students, staff, and the community about the rights of adults to use a service dog at school and the consequences for mistreatment of dogs.

V. Your responsibilities include:

- Provide the Building Principal / ADA Manager with all required documentation, reports, and certification in a timely manner.

- Assume monetary responsibility of the dog's training, veterinary care, city/county license and all other related costs.

- Participate in a school case conference meeting to inform the Building Principal of relevant information that may affect a child, other student, staff, and/or visitors to the school.

- Transport or walk the dog to and from school, or facilitate the use of bus transportation.

- Provide the required equipment and dog care items.

- Assist the Building Principal to communicate relevant information to the school community.

- Attend to the daily care needs of the dog.

- Work cooperative with the school staff to make this accommodation a success.

VI. Once the necessary information has been received, the Building Principal will consult with the SPED Coordinator and/or the ADA Manager, prior to the admittance and implementation of the service dog to the school.

VII. If the request is approved, a series of planning steps must take place to ensure a smooth transition for the entry of the service dog.

VIII. After all the discussion and planning is in place, the goal will be to implement the plan as soon as possible.