Feds Step In After School Refuses Autism Service Dog
After almost three years, an Oregon school district has agreed to allow a 10-year-old with autism to bring his service dog to class following a meeting with Justice Department officials.
Jordan “Scooter” Givens’ parents requested that his trained German shepherd, Madison, be allowed to attend school with the boy nearly three years ago. They said the dog would help the boy remain calm and minimize behavior problems by intervening if Givens began acting aggressively.
But officials from the Hillsboro School District, located outside Portland, Ore., refused, arguing that the dog was not necessary.
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The Givens family subsequently worked with an attorney at Disability Rights Oregon to file a federal civil rights complaint.
Now, after meeting with two Justice Department officials, the school district is reversing course, offering to allow the dog to attend school on a trial basis.
“Service animals assist students with disabilities across the United States every day of the school year without incident,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights. “Fears, generalizations and stereotypes are simply insufficient to deny access to a student’s service dog.”
Details of the trial period have yet to be worked out.