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Service Animals

Adopted:       April 18, 2016                                              Kingsland Public Schools
Revised:        March 6, 2017                            Independent School District No. 2137
Reviewed:     April 17, 2017                                   Spring Valley/Wykoff, Minnesota
 
 
I.         PURPOSE
 
The Board of Education does not permit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those who require the assistance of a service animal. The District will comply with state law concerning the rights of persons with guide or assistance dogs and with federal law and will permit such animals on school premises and on school transportation.
 
Service animals are permitted to accompany a person with disabilities on school property and school buses consistent with the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended, and Minnesota Law. A person who is training a dog to be a service dog shall also be permitted to have the dog on school property pursuant to Minnesota law. This policy does not supplant any other requirements from other law applicable to persons with disabilities including the determination of a reasonable accommodation under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
 
For purposes of this policy, a “service animal” means 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. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button. Service animals are not pets. While Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA.
 
The District shall not assume or take custody or control of, or responsibility for, any service animal or the care or feeding thereof. The owner or person having custody and control of the dog shall be liable for any damage to persons, premises, property, or facilities caused by the service animal, including, but not limited to, clean up, stain removal, etc.
 
If, in the opinion of the School Principal or authorized designee, any service animal is out of control in the school setting or during District transportation, the matter shall be immediately reported to local law enforcement, and the permission granted pursuant to this policy may be immediately revoked. The parent or guardian of the student having custody and control of the dog will be required to remove the dog from District premises immediately.
 
If any student or staff member assigned to the classroom in which service animal is permitted suffers an allergic reaction to the dog, the person having custody and control of the dog will be required to remove the dog to a different location designated by the Building Principal or designee and an alternative plan will be developed with appropriate District staff. Such plan could include the reassignment of the person having custody and control of the dog to a different classroom assignment. This will also apply if an individual on school transportation suffers an allergic reaction. In this case, an alternate plan will be developed in coordination with appropriate school, District, and transportation staff including the involvement of the parents/guardian of the students.
 
When a student will be accompanied by service animal at school or in other District facilities on a regular basis, such staff member or such student's parent or guardian, as well as the dog's owner and any other person who will have custody and control of the dog will be required to sign a document stating that they have read and understood the foregoing.
 
The Superintendent or his/her designee shall be responsible for developing procedures to accommodate a student's use of service animal in District facilities and on school transportation vehicles.
 
 
II.       PROCEDURE—LIVE ANIMALS IN THE CLASSROOM
 
A.        Service Animals (Guide or Assistance Dogs)
 
Background
 
Service animals are animals trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of normal living. The Board of Education, in compliance with state and federal laws, allows service animals to accompany persons with disabilities to be on the District campus. This regulation differentiates "service animals" from "pets," describes types of service dogs, denotes campus locations that are off-limits to service animals, and sets behavioral guidelines for service animals.
 
B.        Definitions
 
“Handler” is the person responsible for controlling the animal which may include the person with the disability or another person.
 
“Pet”  is a domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship. Pets are not permitted in District facilities. Permission may be granted by an administrator for a pet to be in a District facility for a specific reason at a specific time (e.g., a pet dog is used for a demonstration tool in a class).
 
“Service Animal” is any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Service animals are usually dogs. A service animal is sometimes called an assistance animal.
 
“Team” is a person with a disability, or a handler, and his or her service animal. The twosome work as a cohesive team in accomplishing the tasks of everyday living.
 
“Trainee” is an animal undergoing training to become a service animal. A trainee will be housebroken and fully socialized. To be fully socialized means the animal will not, except under rare occasions, bark, yip, growl or make disruptive noises; will have a good temperament and disposition; will not show fear; will not be upset or agitated when it sees another animal; and will not be aggressive. A trainee will be under the control of the handler, who may or may not have a disability. If the trainee begins to show improper behavior, the handler will act immediately to correct the animal or will remove the animal from the premises.
 
“Owner” is the person with a disability who owns the service animal.
 
  
C.         Types of Service Dogs
 
A Guide Dog is a carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool to persons with severe visual impairment or who are blind.
 
A Hearing or Signal Dog is a dog who has been trained to alert a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound, e.g., knock on the door, occurs.
 
A Service Dog is a dog that has been trained to assist a person who has a mobility or health impairment.  Types of duties the dog may perform include carrying, fetching, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, steadying a person while walking, helping a person up after a fall, etc.  Service dogs are sometimes called assistance dogs.
 
A SSig Dog is a dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the partner to distracting repetitive movements common among those with autism, allowing the person to stop the movement (e.g., hand flapping). A person with autism may have problems with sensory input and need the same support services from a dog that a dog might give to a person who is blind or deaf.
 
A Seizure Response Dog is a dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder; how the dog serves depends on the person's needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure, or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have somehow learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.
 
A Psychiatric Service Dog is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and lessen their effects. Tasks performed may include, but are not limited to, reminding the handler to take medicine, providing safety checks of rooms and keeping disoriented individuals from danger.
 
D.        Requirements for Faculty, Staff, and Students
 
Kingland Public School may make the limited inquiries permissible under the ADA to confirm the animal is a “service animal” except when it is readily apparent that the animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
 
Allow a service animal to accompany the partner at all times and everywhere on campus except, where service animals are specifically prohibited.
 
Do not pet a service animal; petting a service animal when the animal is working distracts the animal from the task at hand.
 
Do not feed a service animal. The service animal may have specific dietary requirements.  Unusual food or food at an unexpected time may cause the animal to become ill.
 
Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
 
Do not separate or attempt to separate a handler from his or her service animal.
 
E.         Requirements of Service Animals and Their Owner/Handler
 
Vaccination:  The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal.  Dogs must have had the general maintenance vaccine series, which includes vaccinations against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus.  All vaccinations must be current.
 
Licensing:  Dogs are to wear an owner identification tag at all times.  The dog must also wear a current rabies tag and dog license tag. 
 
Health:  The animal must be in good health.
 
Under Control of Handler:  The handler must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its handler. The handler or owner must properly harness or leash the service animal unless his/her disability prevents harnessing or leashing. The handler or owner shall be liable for any damage done to property or persons by the service animal. The handler or owner is responsible for the humane care and treatment of the service animal. The handler or owner may be asked to remove the service animal if it poses a significant health or safety risk.
 
F.         When a Service Animal Can Be Asked to Leave
 
Disruption: The handler of an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, bringing attention to itself) may be asked to remove the animal from District facilitates.  If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be told not to bring the animal into any District facility until the handler takes significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Mitigation can include muzzling a barking animal or refresher training for both the animal and the handler.
 
Health: Service animals that are ill should not be taken into public areas.  A partner with an ill animal may be asked to leave District facilities.
 
Uncleanliness: Handlers with animals that are unclean and/or bedraggled may be asked to leave District facilities. An animal that becomes wet from walking in the rain or mud or from being splashed by a passing automobile, but is otherwise clean, should be considered a clean animal. Animals that shed in the spring sometimes look bedraggled. If the animal in question usually is well groomed, consider the animal tidy even though its spring coat is uneven and messy-appearing or it has become wet from weather or weather-related incidents.
 
Kingsland Public School may require a “service animal” be removed from the premises if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective control over it; or the animal is not housebroken.
 
Exclusion of a service animal does not allow exclusion of the person with a disability from the premises when the person is without the service animal.
 
G.      Areas Off Limits to Service Animals
 
a.  Mechanical Rooms/Custodial Closets: Mechanical rooms, such as boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, electric closets, elevator control rooms and custodial closets, are off-limits to service animals. The machinery and/or chemicals in these rooms may be harmful to animals.
 
b.  Areas where protective clothing is necessary: Any room where protective clothing is worn is off-limits to service animals. Examples impacting students include, chemical laboratories, wood shops, metal/machine shops and photography dark rooms.
 
c.  Areas where there is danger to the service animal: Any room, including a classroom, where there are sharp metal cuttings or other sharp objects on the floor or protruding from a surface; where there are hot materials on the floor; where there is a high level of dust; or where there is moving machinery is off-limits to service animals.
 
Exceptions:
 
A laboratory instructor may open his or her laboratory to all service animals.
 
A laboratory instructor in a classroom or teaching laboratory with moving equipment may grant permission to an individual animal handler team to enter the laboratory or classroom with moving machinery. Admission for each team will be granted or denied on a case-by-case basis. The final decision shall be made based on the nature of the machinery or class and the best interest of the animal. Example: The machinery in a classroom may have moving parts at a height such that the tail of a large dog could easily be caught in it; this is a valid reason for keeping large dogs out. However, a very small hearing dog may be shorter than any moving part and, therefore, considered for admission to the classroom.
 
Access to other designated off-limits areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
 
To be granted an exception: A student who wants his or her animal to be granted admission to an off-limits area should contact the Supervisor of Special Education.
 
 
  1. Emergency Situations
 
In the event of an emergency, the Emergency Response Team (ERT) should be trained to recognize service animals and to be aware that the animal may be trying to communicate the need for help. The animal may become disoriented from the smell of smoke from a fire or laboratory emergency, from sirens or wind noise, or from shaking and moving ground.  The owner/handler and/or animal may be confused by the stressful situation. The ERT should be aware that the animal is trying to be protective and, in its confusion, is not to be considered harmful. The ERT should make every effort to keep the animal with its partner.  However, the ERT's first effort should be toward the owner/handler; this may necessitate leaving an animal behind in certain emergency evacuation situations.
 
To help ensure appropriate ERT response, this policy and administrative regulation shall be disseminated to local law enforcement and fire departments.
 
 
 
Legal References:     ADA 42 U.S.C. §1210 et seq. (American’s with Disabilities Act)
                             28 C.F.R. 35.104 (Definitions)
                             28 C.F.R. 35.136 (Service Animals)
                             Minn. Stat. §§256C.01-.03 (Minnesota White Cane Law)
                             Minn. Stat. §363A.19 (Disability Discrimination Prohibition Statute)
 


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