School Charged Family $500 a Month to Allow Son’s Service Dog in Classroom
Sometimes it seems as if the adults running America’s schools have less common sense than their students.
Case in point: Arkansas’ Cabot School District is under a federal investigation for attempting to charge the family of a disabled first-grade boy $125 a week to bring his service dog with him to school. The district says the money is needed to pay for a dog handler to attend classes with the student and his service dog, TakePart.com reports.
Kitty Cone, the attorney representing the boy’s family, believes the district is violating federal law, namely the American with Disabilities Act.
“Under these laws, a public agency may not charge for a reasonable accommodation, such as a private dog handler, as a condition of attending the school,” Cone tells TakePart.com.
Cabot school officials initially denied access to the boy’s service dog by telling the family they could provide the same services as the boy’s dog does. That was quickly disproven, however, when the parents pointed out the service dog is specially trained to identify when their epileptic son may experience a seizure.
Apparently, that’s when district officials compromised and offered to allow the dog in school – for $500 a month.
Federal officials are expected to announce in the next few weeks whether or not the district has violated the law with its outrageous demands.
TakePart.com reports there have been “numerous cases … in recent years across the United States about students’ rights to have service animals with them at school.”
Professor Lex Frieden, the chief architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act, tells the news site that fussbudget school leaders should be aware that restricting service animals from the classroom could put them on the wrong side of one or more state and federal laws.