Students 153 SERVICE ANIMALS IN SCHOOLS

 

The following rules shall govern the use of service animals by persons in within any facility or upon any property of the District.

  1. General Conditions

1.          Use of a service animal by a person with a disability will be allowed in or upon District property when the animal is required to perform work or tasks directly related to the individual’s disability.

Qualified individuals with disabilities and service animal trainers are eligible to use service animals in the School.

2.          “Service animals”:

a.           "Service Animal" for the purposes of this policy shall mean and include any dog 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. Service animal shall be construed to include a “hearing ear dog,” “guide dog,” or “service dog,” as those terms are currently defined in NH RSA 167-D:1.  "Emotional support", "therapy" or "comfort dogs" are generally not service animals for the purposes of this policy, except as may be provided under Paragraph B.2, below.

          Miniature horses do not specifically fall within the state or federal statutory definitions for "service animal".  However, miniature horses which have been individually trained to perform specific work or tasks may be permitted in the schools in certain circumstances as a reasonable accommodation for a qualified individual with a disability. Any such requests should be directed to the Superintendent or his/her designee, who in addition to the above will take into consider the provisions of Paragraph B.2, and Section C, below.  If a miniature horse is approved, all the conditions in this policy shall apply.

          Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for purposes of this definition.

b.          The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Under state and federal law, work and tasks may include, but are not limited to: (1) assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks; (2) alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds; (3) providing nonviolent protection or rescue work; (4) pulling a wheelchair; (5) assisting an individual during a seizure; (6) alerting individuals to the presence of allergens; (7) retrieving items such as medicine or a telephone; (8) providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities; and (9) helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime determent effect of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of the law.

3.          The District will have no responsibility for the training, feeding, grooming or care of any service animal permitted to attend school under this policy (except in the limited circumstances described in Section B.3.a, below. It shall be the responsibility of the individual with a disability or designated handler to ensure the proper care and supervision of the service animal.

4.          All service animals must be kept on a harness, leash or tether (unless this prevents the animal from performing his/her specific work or tasks with the individual), or must otherwise be under the control of the individual with a disability or designated handler at all times.

5.          The individual (in the case of a student, the student’s parent/guardian(s)) is liable for any damage to District property or other personal property, and for any injuries to individuals caused by the service animal, consistent with any applicable laws.

6.          Individuals with service animals may access the same areas that individuals without disabilities are authorized to access.

7.          As used in this policy, “service animal trainer” shall have the same definition as that provided under RSA 167-D:1 as the same may be amended or replaced from time-to-time. As of February 1, 2017 that statute defines "service animal trainer" as any person who is employed to train dogs for or is volunteering to raise dogs for a provider of service animals for persons with disabilities or an individual trainer who helps a person with disabilities to train his or her own service animal or an individual trainer who tests an animal to verify its eligibility for the New Hampshire service animal tag.

B.            Administrative Review of Service Animals

1.          Whenever a service animal is in the School or on District property (and it is not obvious that the animal qualifies as a service animal, e.g, guide dog for a blind person), a building administrator or other authorized District personnel may ask:

a.           Whether the service animal is required because of a disability;

b.          What work or task(s) the animal has been trained to perform;

c.           In the case of a service animal trainer, documentation of the individual’s affiliation with a recognized organization as described in RSA 167, and section A.7 above.

2.          If a student with an educational disability or a Section 504 Plan seeks to bring an animal on a school campus that is not a service animal as defined above, the request shall be referred to the IEP or Section 504 Team to determine whether the animal is necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE).  After such review, if the animal is deemed necessary for the student to receive FAPE, then the animal shall be a service animal for the purposes of this policy.

3.          When it is anticipated that a service animal is going to be in School on a regular basis with a third party (e.g., employee, volunteer, service animal trainer or other frequent visitor to the School), the individual using the service animal (or in the case of a student, the student’s parent/guardian(s)) are strongly encouraged to notify the Superintendent or the Principal in advance.

a.           The School will not provide any staff support to care for or control a service animal, but may provide support to a student using a service animal as needed in a particular instance (i.e., accompanying a young student who takes a service animal outside to relieve itself).

b.          Any handler (service animal trainer, parent/guardian or other person) accompanying the service animal must have approval to work in the School from the New Hampshire Department of Education and undergo the State criminal background check.

4.          Service animals must be properly licensed and vaccinated in accordance with New Hampshire law (see RSA Chapter 466).

C.            Additional Considerations Relative to Service Miniature Horses

In making a determination as to whether to allow a specific miniature horse as a service animal, the Superintendent/designee will consider pertinent factors, including, without limitation:

a.           The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features;

b.          Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse;

c.           Whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and

d.          Whether the miniature horse's presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safety of students or others.

D.            Removal or Exclusion of Service Animals from School

1.          The Superintendent, Principal or other authorized School official may require that the service animal be removed from the School or other District property under any of the following circumstances:

a.           The service animal poses a direct threat to the safety of individuals, causes a significant disruption of School activities or programs, fundamentally alters the nature of any School program, or otherwise jeopardizes the safe operation of the School in a manner that cannot be eliminated by modifications;

b.          The service animal demonstrates that he/she is unable to perform reliably the work or tasks which he/she was represented as being able to perform (which is required to be defined as a service animal);

c.           The service animal is not under the full control of the person with a disability, or the authorized handler/trainer, and the individual does not take effective action to control the animal;

d.          The service animal is sick (i.e., vomiting, etc.), infested with parasites, has an infection of the skin, mouth or eyes, or otherwise presents a threat to the public health (applying the standard that would be applied to any other animal allowed on school premises); and/or

e.           The service animal is not housebroken (i.e., demonstrates that it is not sufficiently trained to relieve itself outside in appropriate locations).

2.          If a service animal is removed or excluded, the individual shall still be provided access to school facilities, programs and/or services.

Legal References:        Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act – 29 U.S.C. 794;

                                     Americans with Disabilities Act – 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.;

                                     Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability, Title 28 CFR Part 35-36;

                                     NH RSA 167-D and 466:8.

NHSBA: New policy April 2011.  Revised [Provisionally] December 2017.

 

NHSBA note, December 2017:  This policy is updated to add clarity to emerging interpretations of applicable statutes and regulations.  The update is provisional as of December 2017, and will be included in one of the 2018 updates.

Reference:

NHSBA Code IMG

 

Revised from 12/13/04, 1/22/18

First Reading Coordination: 1/8/18

Second Reading and Adoption by BOSC: 1/22/18