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ACLU Steps In After IEP Team Says No To Service Dog

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The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing a Michigan school district of violating the rights of a girl with cerebral palsy after the girl’s educational team said she did not need her service dog at school.

Ehlena Fry, 5, relies on her dog Wonder to help her balance, collect items that fall on the floor and open doors, among other things. The dog was specially trained to work with Fry and was prescribed by a doctor.

Nonetheless, the team establishing Fry’s individualized education plan, or IEP, determined that she does not need the dog’s help at school because of the other services already provided to her by the Napoleon Community Schools, including a full-time assistant.

Now the ACLU is stepping in, charging that denying the girl from bringing her assistance dog to school is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and is illegally forcing her to “choose between her independence and her education,” reports the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot. To read more click here.

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  1. twinkie1cat says:

    Maybe the girl would not need a full time assistant if she had her dog. Then her school experience would be more normal. I don’t like child specific paraprofessionals. They often interfere with the teacher/student relationship and also can prevent normal social interactions by being too close to student relationships. I am sure she needs one part of the time, but if they dog can do a portion of the job, then that is much more normal and perhaps the para can help another child or be an extra classroom assistant. Someone is scared of dogs. Or maybe they are afraid of the girl and just want her to be uncomfortable so she won’t come to school. It happens. And the parents have to sign off on the IEP. Did they do this? Were they coerced? I have had plenty of parents disagree with an IEP but we were always able to work it out. GO ACLU! There are two words the schools hate to hear when they do wrong. The first is MEDIA. The second is LAWSUIT. Remember that when you stand up for the kids.

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