For the purposes of this policy, “District premises” refers to school buildings, vehicles, and all other District property. The District shall comply with all state and federal laws, regulations, and rules regarding the use and presence of animals by staff or students with a disability under appropriate circumstances.
GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY
District owned therapy dogs are covered under School Board Policy #606.7. This policy applies to service dogs needed by students, employees, or visitors to Mid-Prairie facilities. MPCSD shall comply with all state and federal laws, regulations, and rules regarding the use of service animals by disabled staff or students under appropriate circumstances. The District shall not be responsible to provide a service animal for any student or employee, nor shall the District be responsible to care for any service animal, except as required by law and this policy.
DEFINITION OF SERVICE ANIMAL
For the purposes of this policy, the term “service animal” includes any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. The work or task that a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. “Service animals” are working animals, not pets. The definition does not include wild animals, farm animals and rodents, or animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being.
- Service animals must be current on all required vaccinations.
- Service animals also must be under control while on district grounds.
- The animal may be under control by either the individual with a disability, or a handler of the service or assistive animal. Under control means harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work, in which case under voice or other directive control.
- While on District property, the owner must have the means to remove any waste left by the animal.
- The owner is responsible for immediate repair and cleanup of incidental damage caused by the animal (including digging damage). Cleanup and repairs should be thorough enough to not add additional work for the District staff, or inconvenience for members of the community or visitors.
Use of service animals by staff or students with a qualifying disability is subject to the following procedures and requirements:
- The parent/guardian of a student with a disability must submit a request for the use of a service animal to their building principal. Any request for the use of a service animal must identify if the service animal is required because of a disability and the work or task the animal has been trained to perform. Information about the nature or extent of the disability is not required.
- Requests for the use of service animals on District property must be made, whenever possible, no less than three (3) weeks prior to the proposed use of the service animal. Under no circumstances may a service animal be on District property on a regular basis without prior approval under this policy. Student requests shall be reviewed by the building principal, in consultation with the Director of Special Education. Employee requests shall be reviewed by the Superintendent.
- The owner of any service animal allowed onto District property shall be responsible to properly ensure that the animal is properly licensed pursuant to regular local animal control laws and ordinances and that the animal has received all vaccinations required by law.
- The use of a service animal on District premises may be subject to a plan designed to introduce the service animal to the school environment, any appropriate training for staff and students regarding interaction with the service animal, and other activities or conditions deemed necessary by the District. However, an individual with a disability who uses a service animal will not be restricted from entry onto District premises prior to completion of any training/familiarization deemed appropriate.
- Service animals must be under the control of their handlers at all times. Service animals must wear proper identification and always be on a leash or other form of restraint mechanism, unless the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of such mechanism would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must otherwise be under the handler’s control (voice control, signals, or other effective means).
- It is the responsibility of the student, or if the student is unable, the student's parent/guardian or designee, or staff person who uses a service animal pursuant to this policy to be the animal's handler. Each school building or other District property where a service animal is regularly present will have a designated animal waste area. The handler of any service animal must direct the animal to utilize the designated animal waste area and must properly dispose of any fecal matter.
- Service Animals will be allowed in MPCSD transportation vehicles only when the service animal is under the control of a properly trained handler at all times, including entering and exiting the vehicle.
- The District retains discretion to exclude or remove a service animal from its property if:
- The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control the animal’s behavior.
- The animal is not housebroken.
- The animal’s presence or behavior fundamentally interferes in the functions of the District.
- The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable modifications.
- In addition, in the case of a service animal that is a miniature horse, the District retains discretion to exclude or remove any service animal from its property based upon:
- The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility where the miniature horse will be used can accommodate the miniature horse
- Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse.
A student who uses a service animal on MPCSD property and the student’s parent/guardian, or a District employee who uses a service animal on District property, shall be liable for any damage to District's real or personal property, or another student’s or employee’s personal property, and for any injuries to individuals caused by the person’s service animal. A student who uses a
service animal on District property and the student’s parent/guardian, a MPCSD employee who uses a service animal on District property, or a person who is a designated handler of a service animal on behalf of another, will hold MPCSD harmless and indemnify MPCSD from any damages or injuries to the service animal, the student or employee who uses the service animal, or the handler of the service animal, as a result of the person’s use or participation in the use of the service animal.