BOARD POLICY 8390 - ANIMALS ON DISTRICT PROPERTY
The Board of Education recognizes that there are many occasions when animals are present on District property and many reasons for those animals’ presence. Animals are commonly utilized by teachers during classroom presentations and are often housed in classrooms and other locations on campus. Additionally, employees, students, parents, vendors, and other members of the public may be accompanied at school by a service or therapy animal in accordance with Federal and State law and this policy.
This policy applies to all animals on District property, including service animals.
"Animal": includes every vertebrate other than a human.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also defines a miniature horse as an animal that can serve as a service animal, so long as the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability. To better determine whether the Board must allow for the use of a miniature horse or make modifications to buildings, the Board should refer to Section 35.136 (c) through (i) of the ADA.
Vaccination, Licensing and/or Veterinary Requirements
Animals housed on or brought on to District property for any school purpose, such as to conduct random searches for illegal substances or to support classroom activities, or brought on to District property on a regular basis for any purpose, including service animals, must meet every veterinary requirement set forth in State law and County regulation/ordinance, including but not limited to rabies vaccination or other inoculations required to be properly licensed.
Non-Service Animals in Schools and Elsewhere on District Property
Animals permitted in schools and elsewhere on District property shall be limited to those necessary to support specific curriculum-related projects and activities, those that provide assistance to a student or staff member due to a disability (e.g., seizure disorder), those that provide a reasonable accommodation to a student in accordance with a Section 504 Plan, or those that serve as service animals as required by Federal and State law.
Taking into consideration that some animals can cause or exacerbate allergic reactions, spread bacterial infections, or cause damage and create a hazard if they escape from confinement, the Principal may permit non-service animals to be present in classrooms to support curriculum-related projects and activities only under the following conditions:
The staff member seeking approval to have a non-service animal in his/her classroom shall:
Provide a current satisfactory health certificate or report of examination from a veterinarian for the animal;
Take precautions deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of students and other staff;
Ensure that the animal is treated humanely, keeping it in a healthy condition and in appropriate housing (e.g., a cage or tank) that is properly cleaned and maintained; and,
Keep the surrounding areas in a clean and sanitary condition at all times;
Other staff members and parents of students in areas potentially affected by animals have been notified in writing and adjustments have been made to accommodate verified health-related or other concerns.
Except where required by law, the presence of a non-service animal shall be disallowed if documented health concerns of a student or staff member cannot be accommodated.
Service Animals for Students
A service animal is permitted to accompany a student with a disability to whom the animal is assigned anywhere on the school campus where students are permitted to be.
A service animal is the personal property of the student and/or parents. The Board does not assume responsibility for training, daily care, or healthcare or supervision of service animals. The Board does not assume responsibility for personal injury or property damage arising out of or relating to the presence or use of service animals on District property or at District-sponsored events.
A service animal that meets the definitions set forth in the ADA and this policy shall be under the control of the student with a disability, or a separate handler if the student is unable to control the animal. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the student with a disability is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a 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 student’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means), or under the control of a handler other than the student.
If the student with a disability is unable to control the service animal and another person serves as the animal’s handler, that individual shall be treated as a volunteer and, as such, will be subject to Policy 4120.09.
Removing and/or Excluding a Student’s Service Animal
If a service animal demonstrates that it is not under the control of the student or its handler, the Principal is responsible for documenting such behavior and for determining if and when the service animal is to be removed and/or excluded from school property.
Similarly, in instances when the service animal has demonstrated that it is not housebroken, the Principal shall document such behavior and determine whether the service animal is to be removed and/or excluded from school property.
The Principal shall notify the Superintendent when a service animal is removed and/or excluded, and, immediately subsequent to such notification, document the reasons for the removal and/or exclusion.
The Principal’s decision to remove and/or exclude a service animal from school property may be appealed in accordance with the complaint procedure set forth in Policy 2260 – Nondiscrimination and Access to Equal Educational Opportunity.
The procedures set forth in Policy 2260 – Nondiscrimination and Access to Equal Educational Opportunity do not interfere with the rights of a student and his/her parents or an eligible student to pursue a complaint with the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights or the Department of Justice.
Eligibility of a Student’s Service Animal for Transportation
A student with a disability shall be permitted to access School District transportation with his/her service animal. There may also be a need for the service animal’s handler, if the handler is someone other than the student, to also access School District transportation.
When a service animal is going to ride on a school bus or other Board-owned or leased vehicle, the student and his/her parents, or eligible student, and the handler, if s/he is someone other than the student, shall meet with the Principal and/or Transportation Supervisor to discuss critical commands needed for daily interaction and emergency/evacuation, and to determine whether the service animal should be secured on bus/vehicle with a tether or harness.
At the discretion of the Principal, an orientation will take place for students and staff who will be riding the bus/vehicle with the service animal regarding the animal’s functions and how students should interact with the animal.
The service animal shall board the bus by the steps with the student, not a lift, unless the student uses the lift to enter and exit the bus. The service animal must participate in bus evacuation drills with the student.
While the bus/vehicle is in motion, the service animal shall remain positioned on the floor, at the student’s feet.
Situations that would cause cessation of transportation privileges for the service animal include:
The student, or handler, is unable to control the service animal’s behavior, which poses a threat to the health or safety of others; or
The service animal urinates or defecates on the bus.
The student and his/her parents shall be informed of behaviors that could result in cessation of transportation privileges for the service animal, in writing, prior to the first day of transportation.
If it is necessary to suspend transportation privileges for the service animal for any of the above reasons, the decision may be appealed to the Principal.
Although transportation may be suspended for the service animal, it remains the District’s responsibility to transport the student. Furthermore, unless the behavior that resulted in the service animal’s removal from the bus is also documented during the school day, the service animal may still accompany the student in school.
Service Animals for Employees
In accordance with Policy 1623, Policy 3123, and Policy 4123 - Section 504/ADA Prohibition Against Disability Discrimination in Employment, the Board provides qualified individuals with disabilities with reasonable accommodation(s). An employee with a disability may request authorization to use a service animal while on duty as such an accommodation. The request will be handled in accordance with the ADA mandated interactive process.
Service Animals for Parents, Vendors, Visitors, and Others
Individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals are permitted access to all areas of the District's facilities where members of the public, as participants in services, programs or activities, as vendors, or as invitees, are permitted to go. Individuals who will access any area of the District’s facilities with their service animals should notify the Principal that their service animal will accompany them during their visit.
An individual with a disability who attends a school event will be permitted to be accompanied by his/her service animal in accordance with Policy 9160 - Public Attendance at School Events.
28 C.F.R. 35.104
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504)
The Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)