4046: Animals at School

Animals are not allowed in ESU buildings or on ESU property without the written permission of the administrator or his or her designee except as provided in this policy or as otherwise required by law.

I. Use of Animals for Instructional Purposes

Animals that support an ESU program or curriculum or that are used for instructional purposes are allowed in ESU buildings or on ESU property with the written permission of the ESU Administrator or his or her designee.  

II. Service Animals

The ESU does not permit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those who require the assistance of a service animal. An individual with a disability is permitted to be accompanied by his/her service animal on ESU property when required by law, subject to the conditions of this policy.

Service Animal. A “service animal” is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Work or tasks do not include the crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability or necessary to mitigate a disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. See also, Miniature Horses below.

ESU Inquiries. ESU officials may ask the owner or handler of an animal whether the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to do unless the answers to these inquiries are readily apparent. ESU officials may not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability and may not require documentary proof of certification or licensing as a service animal.

Procedural Requirements. The following requirements must be satisfied before a service animal will be allowed in ESU buildings or on ESU grounds:

Request. A person who wants to be accompanied by his/her service animal must submit a written request form to a principal or administrator. The request form is attached to this policy. These requests must be renewed each school year or whenever a different service animal will be used. When a request to be accompanied by a service animal is submitted by, or on behalf of, a student who has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or a Section 504 Plan, then the request shall be promptly referred to the student’s respective IEP Team and/or 504 Team for its consideration and/or input.

Health and Vaccination. The owner or handler must have proof of current licensure from the local licensing authority including proof of the service animal’s current vaccinations and immunizations required by law.

Service animals will not be allowed in ESU buildings or other ESU property until the ESU has approved the request.

Control. A service animal must be under the control of its handler at all times. The service animal must have a harness, backpack, vest identifying the dog as a trained service dog, leash, or other tether. If the handler is unable to use a harness, backpack, vest, leash, or other tether, because of a disability or the use of a harness, backpack, vest, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, the use of these items is not required. However, the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control.

Exclusion or Removal from ESU property. A service animal may be excluded from ESU property and buildings if an administrator determines that:

(1) A handler does not have control of the service animal;
(2) The service animal is not housebroken;
(3) The service animal presents a direct and immediate threat to others in the ESU; or
(4) The animal’s presence fundamentally alters the nature of the service, program, or activity.

The handler or the student’s parent or guardian shall be required to remove the service animal from ESU premises immediately upon such a determination. If the service animal is removed, the individual with a disability shall be provided with the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without the service animal.

Allergic Reactions. If any student or ESU employee assigned to a classroom or mode of transportation in which a service animal is permitted suffers an allergic reaction to the service animal, the person having custody and control of the animal will be required to remove the animal to a different location designated by an administrator. The ESU will arrange a meeting between ESU personnel, the individual with the disability, and the parents or guardian(s) of the person with the disability if that person is a student to develop an alternate plan.

Supervision and Care of Service Animals. The owner or handler of a service animal is solely responsible for the supervision and care of the animal, including any feeding, exercising, and clean up while the animal is in an ESU building or on ESU property. The student’s parent or guardian is responsible for providing for the supervision and the care of the animal in the event that his or her student is not able to do so. The ESU is not responsible for providing any care, supervision, or assistance for a service animal.

Extra Charges. The owner or handler of a service animal will not be required to pay an admission fee or a charge for the animal to attend events for which a fee is charged.

Damage to ESU Property and Injuries. The owner or handler of a service animal is solely responsible and liable for any damage to ESU property or injury to personnel, students, or others caused by the animal.

Miniature Horses. Requests to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by considering the following factors:

(1) The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features;
(2) Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse;
(3) Whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and
(4) Whether the miniature horse’s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.

All additional requirements outlined in this policy, which apply to service animals, shall apply to miniature horses.

Service Animal in Training. This policy shall also be applicable to service animals in training that are accompanied by a bona fide trainer.

Denial of Access and Grievance. If an ESU official denies a request for access of a service animal, the disabled individual or parent or guardian can file a written grievance with the ESU’s Section 504 Coordinator.

III. Therapy Animals

The ESU supports the use of therapy animals by teachers or other qualified ESU personnel (“Owner”) for the benefit of its students subject to the conditions of this policy.

Therapy Animal.  A “therapy animal” is an animal that has been individually trained and certified to work with its Owner to provide emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship to ESU students.  Therapy animals are not “service animals” as that term is used in the American with Disabilities Act.  The animal must be well behaved and have a temperament that is suitable for interaction with students and others in a public school.  Therapy animals are personal property of the Owner and are not owned by the ESU.   

Therapy Animal Standards and Procedures.  The following requirements must be satisfied before a therapy animal will be allowed in ESU buildings or on ESU grounds:

Request.  An Owner who wants to bring a therapy animal to the ESU or its programs must submit a written request form to an administrator.  The request form is attached to this policy.  The request must be renewed each school year or whenever a different therapy animal will be used.  When a request to bring a therapy animal to school is submitted by, or on behalf of, a student who has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or a Section 504 Plan, then the request shall be promptly referred to the student’s respective IEP Team  and/or 504 Team for its consideration and/or input.

Training and Certification.  The Owner must submit training and certification information requested by the Superintendent or his or her designee. Any certification required by the ESU must remain current at all times.    

Health and Vaccination.  The therapy animal must be clean, well groomed, in good health, house broken, and immunized against diseases common to such animals.  The Owner must submit proof of current required licensure from the local licensing authority and proof of the therapy animal’s current vaccinations and immunizations from a licensed veterinarian, if applicable.

Control.  A therapy animal must be under the control of the Owner at all times.   

Identification.  The therapy animal must have appropriate identification identifying it as a therapy animal.   

No Disruption.  The therapy animal must not disrupt the educational process by any of its behaviors.

Health and Safety.  The therapy animal must not pose a health and safety risk to any student, employee, or other person at the ESU.

Supervision and Care of Therapy Animals.  The Owner is solely responsible for the supervision and care of the therapy animal, including any feeding, exercising, and clean up while the animal is in an ESU building or on ESU property.  The ESU is not responsible for providing any care, supervision, or assistance for a therapy animal.

Authorized Area(s).  The Owner shall only allow the therapy animal to be in areas in ESU buildings or on ESU property that are authorized by ESU administrators.

Insurance.  The Owner must submit a copy of an insurance policy that provides liability coverage for the therapy animal while on ESU property.

Exclusion or Removal from School.  A therapy animal may be excluded from ESU property and buildings if an ESU administrator determines that:

(1) A handler does not have control of the therapy animal;

(2) The therapy animal is not housebroken;  

(3) The therapy animal presents a direct and immediate threat to others in the school; or 

(4) The animal’s presence otherwise interferes with the educational process.  

The Owner shall be required to remove the therapy animal from ESU premises immediately upon such a determination.    

Allergic Reactions.  If any student or ESU employee assigned to a classroom in which a therapy animal is permitted suffers an allergic reaction to the therapy animal, the Owner of the animal will be required to remove the animal to a different location designated by an administrator.  

Damages to School Property and Injuries.  The Owner of a therapy animal is solely responsible and liable for any damage to school property or injury to personnel, students, or others caused by the therapy animal.

Other Therapy Animals.  Therapy animals (1) owned by students, patrons, or other non-ESU employees or (2) owned by ESU employees for their own benefit will not be allowed on ESU grounds or ESU property except as otherwise required by law.


Forms:


Adopted on: Feb. 12, 2019
Reviewed on: September 18, 2019
Revised on: Oct. 14, 2019
Revised on: August 10, 2020