Sunday, August 29, 2010

Service Animal OK in school

An Illinois appeals court smacked down a school district recently.

The Fourth District Appellate Court considered a case brought to it to allow a first-grade student to have his service dog, Chewey, in school. The Villa Grove School District (located southeast of Champaign, Ill.), in its infinite wisdom, apparently had thought the dog was a pet and didn't want the student to bring the dog to school.

The court, however, ruled in favor of Kaleb Drew and ordered that the school allow him to take his autism helper dog to school. The family's argument was that the boy's yellow Labrador retriever is a service animal. (Pictured is an example of a service dog.)

How does this animal help Kaleb? According to the boy's mother, the "dog prevents the boy from running away, helps him focus on his homework and calms him when he has a tantrum."

Service dogs wear vests that identify them as service animals. Please do not approach a service animal or attempt to pet it. The animal is not a pet. When it is wearing its vest, it is working. Usually the owner will ask you to step back, if you approach a service animal for the purpose of petting it.

Please be considerate of service animals. You don't have to go out of your way to avoid them; just act as if they aren't there.

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