2030 Service Animals in Schools

  • The board of directors acknowledges its responsibility to permit students and/or adults with disabilities to be accompanied by a “service animal” as required by federal laws and Washington State’s law against discrimination. This policy governs the presence of service animals in the schools, on school property, including school buses and at school activities.

    A “service animal” means an animal that is trained for the purpose of assisting or accommodating a disabled person’s sensory, mental or physical disability.

    The parent/guardian of a student who believes the student needs to bring a service animal to school or an employee who wishes to bring a service animal to school, must submit a written re-quest to the building principal. The building principal, in consultation with the Section 504 coordinator or director of student support, as appropriate, will determine whether or not to permit the service animal in school.

    Cross Reference:
    Policy 2029         Animals as Part of the Instructional Program
    Policy 2161         Education of Students with Disabilities
    Policy 2162         Education of Students with Disabilities      Under Section 504
    Policy 3210         Nondiscrimination
    Policy 5010         Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action

    Legal References:
    American Disabilities Act (ADA)     Revised Title II Regulations,
    §35 Service animals
    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    RCW 49.60.040                                      Definitions
    RCW 28A.642                                         Discrimination Prohibition
    WAC 392-145-021(3)                           General Operating Requirements
    WAC 392-172A-01155 (3)                  Related Services
    WAC 392-172A-01035                         Child with a Disability or Student eligible for Special Education
    WAC 392-190                                         Equal Educational Opportunity  unlawful discrimination prohibited
    WAC 162-26                                           Public accommodations, disability discrimination

    ADOPTED:  12/17/2015
    REVISED: 

    Procedure No. 2030P Service Animals in School

    A.  Service Animal Uses

    Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

    Use of a service animal by a student with a disability will be allowed in school when it is determined that the student’s disability requires such use in order to assist or accommodate access to the instructional program, school services and/or school activities.

    Use of a service animal by an employee with a disability will be allowed when such use is necessary as a reasonable accommodation to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of their job or to access benefits of employment provided to all employees in the same job classification.

    The use of a service animal by an individual with a disability will not be conditioned on the payment of a fee, security deposit or surcharge.

    B.  Requirements for Service Animal Access

    Before a service animal will be permitted in school, on school property or at school-sponsored events, the student’s parent or the employee must provide a description of the task(s) the service animal is expected to perform in assisting the person with a disability.

    The district will provide access to a person with a disability who needs a service animal provided that the tasks performed by the service animal are directly related to the disability and the animal has been individually trained to perform a task; is housebroken; is free of disease and parasites; has a harness, leash or tether so it cannot run free; and is under the control of the person with a disability.

    A service animal must also be licensed and immunized in accordance with the laws, regulations and ordinances of the city, the county, and the state of Washington.

    C.  Parents or Animal Handlers

    Parents or animal handlers who will be present in school for the purpose of assisting a student with their service animal are required to submit to a sex offender registry and criminal background check. In addition, parents and handlers must comply with all standards of con-duct that apply to school employees and volunteers.

    D.  Removal or Exclusion of a Service Animal from School or School Property

    The building principal or district administrator may request an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from school, a school-sponsored activity or school property if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control the animal. Examples of the animal being out of control include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. The presence of the animal poses a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others;
    2. The animal significantly disrupts or interferes with the instruction program, school activities or student learning. However, annoyance on the part of the others is not an unreasonable risk to property or others to justify the removal of the service animal;
    3. The presence of the animal would result in a fundamental alteration of any school program;
    4. The individual in control of the animal fails to appropriately care for the animal, including feeding, exercising, taking outside for performance of excretory functions and cleaning up after the animal;
    5. The animal fails to consistently perform the function(s)/service(s) to assist or accommodate the individual with the disability;
    6. The animal is ill; or
    7. The animal is not housebroken.

    If the district excludes a service animal, it will provide the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

    E.  Service Animals at School-Sponsored Events

    Individuals with disabilities may be accompanied by their service animals to events or activities open to the public that are held in schools or on school property.

    The building administrator may revoke or exclude the service animals for the reasons set forth in paragraph “D” above.

    F.  Responsibility/Liability

    1. Neither the district, nor its employees, are responsible for the cost, care or supervision of the service animal. (See Policies 2161, Education of Students with Disabilities, and 2162, Education of Students with Disabilities Under Section 504, for responsibility for related services.)
    2. A service animal must be under the control of its handler. A service animal must also have a harness, leash or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash or other tether, or the use of the harness, leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals or other effective means).
    3. The owner/handler of the service animal is responsible for any and all damage caused by the service animal at school, on school premises or at school activities.

    G.  Appeals

    A parent or employee whose service animal has been excluded or removed may appeal the decision to the superintendent. If dissatisfied with the superintendent’s decision, the parent or employee may appeal to the board.

    H.  Resources

    1.  District Contact
    Director of Student Support
    Yelm Community Schools
    107 First Street North
    P.O. Box 476
    Yelm, WA 98597
    360.458.1900

    2.  State Contacts
    Superintendent of Public Instruction
    Equity and Civil Rights Office
    P.O. Box 47200
    Olympia, WA  98504-7200
    360.725.6162

    Washington State Human Rights Commission
    711 South Capitol Way, Suite 402
    P.O. Box 42490
    Olympia, WA 98504-2490
    360.753.6770

    Office of Civil Rights
    U.S. Department of Education
    915 Second Avenue, Room 3310
    Seattle, WA  98174
    206.607.1600

    ADOPTED:  12/17/2015
    REVISED:  7/27/17

2000 Policies