Service Dogs can attend High School.

The ADA permits a student with a disability who uses a service animal to have the animal at school. In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act allow a student to use an animal that does not meet the ADA definition of a service animal if that student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 team decides the animal is necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate education.

Where the ADA applies, however, schools should be aware the use of a service animal is a right that is not dependent upon the decision of an IEP or Section 504 team.

Emotional support animals, therapy animals, and companion animals are seldom allowed to accompany students in public schools. Indeed, the ADA does not contemplate the use of animals other than those meeting the definition of “service animal.” Ultimately, the determination if a student can use anything other than a actual service dog should be made on a case by case basis. Providing as much documentation on your child’s condition from medical professionals will be needed if you expect your child to be accommodated with a non-service dog.

Service animals in post-secondary education settings – Under the ADA, colleges and universities must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility that are open to the public or to students.

Colleges and universities may have a policy asking students who use service animals to contact the school’s Disability Services Coordinator to register as a student with a disability. Higher education institutions may not require any documentation about the training or certification of a service animal. Especially when the institution is in a different state, you will be expected to comply with all State and Local regulations not restricted by the ADA.

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