Friday, March 29, 2019

Factsheet answers ordinary and unfamiliar questions about service animals in schools

What is a service animal? What kinds of animals can be used as service animals and who may use them? Are there certification and training requirements for such animals? And what are the rules about service animals in schools? These questions and more are answered in a recently published guidance document, Service Animals Factsheet Q & A

The factsheet provides answers to 30 questions about the rules and regulations surrounding service animals in Illinois and in conformance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For example, the ADA definition of a service animal is limited to dogs, while the Illinois meaning includes dogs and miniature horses.

The documents break down specific questions about service animals in schools, including where they are allowed, who is responsible for the animals, what kind of documentation is required, and what can be done if such an animal becomes disruptive.

The sometimes-overlooked or forgotten issues involving service animals in school settings are also touched on.  For instance, are service animals allowed to ride on school buses? (The answer is yes.) Can they accompany their companion on school field trips? (Yes.) What if other students or teachers are allergic to dogs? (Allergies or fear of dogs are not considered valid reasons for school districts to deny the use of service animals.)

Additional information and answers to other commonly asked questions regarding service animals in schools is available on the IASB website.