Nederland ISD delays service dog access to elementary school student

Nederland ISD tells a mother she has to provide paperwork before allowing a service dog with her child in Highland Park Elementary

NEDERLAND - Adisyn Howard, is 10 years old and suffers from epilepsy. When her mother Tara Clark requested her daughter's service dog attend lunch with her last Friday, she found out the process is tougher than she thought.

"They said I needed to get a prescription from the doctor for the dog, and I  need to get her certification," Clark told us.

According to Texas law under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public facilities and common transportation carriers must admit a person with a disability accompanied by a service dog for assistance and also to admit a trainer of service dogs accompanied by a dog for training purposes.

State law also allows that people with disabilities may not be required to show proof of certification for their service animal. Public establishments may only ask if the service animal is required because the person has a disability and what type of work the service animal is trained to perform.

Nederland ISD's policies state the district shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability, but may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

"I love Highland Park, I love the principal, the teachers, I love the district, I just, you know, it's a lot more than I thought it was going to be," Clark said.

"I thought it'd be not as hard to get him in there," Clark continued.

She doesn't think this will break the bond between dog and daughter.

"I see a major boost in her confidence, she feels more confident in herself doing things. And like when she goes to school, he doesn't want to eat, when she gets out of the car he cries, you know, he's gotten really super attached to her," Clark said.

Clark says she expects to meet with Nederland ISD and Highland Park's principal in two weeks.

Below you can find more on Nederland ISD's policy regarding service animals.

The district may ask if the animal is required, but they shall not require any documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.

The policy also states that individuals with disabilites shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of the district's facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go.

(© 2016 KBMT)


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