SERVICE ANIMALS IN SCHOOL
The Smithfield School Department acknowledges its responsibility to permit students and/or adults with disabilities to be accompanied by a “service animal” in its school buildings, in classrooms, on school transportation, and at school functions (including field trips), as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, 28 CFR Part 35. Service animals are not pets but rather perform some of the tasks that individuals with disabilities cannot perform themselves, such as guiding persons with visual impairments, alerting persons with hearing impairments, or assisting persons with mobility impairments.
The Smithfield School Department will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 28 CFR Part 35 and strive to accommodate students and staff.
Students and/or adults with disabilities may be accompanied by a “service animal” in its school buildings, in classrooms, and at school functions, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, 28 CFR Part 35, subject to the following:
1. The definition of “service animal” is limited to a dog or, in certain circumstances, a miniature horse. Other types of animals, wild or domestic, do not qualify as “service animals.”
2. All requests for an individual with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal must be addressed in writing to the Superintendent of Schools at 49 Farnum Pike, Smithfield, RI 02917, and must contain required documentation of vaccinations. This written request must be delivered to the Superintendent of Schools Office at least ten (10) business days prior to bringing the service animal to school or a school function.
3. Owners of a service dog must provide annual proof of the following vaccinations: DHLPPPC (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Paroinfluenza, Parvovirus, and Coronavirus), Bordetella, and Rabies. The service dog must wear an up-to-date Rabies tag on its collar.
4. Owners of a service miniature horse must provide annual proof of the following vaccinations: Equine Infectious Anemia (Coggins Test), Rabies, Tetanus, Encelphelomyelitis, Rhinoneumonitis, Influenza, and Strangles.
5. All service dogs must be spayed or neutered.
6. All service animals must be treated for, and kept free of, fleas and ticks.
7. All service animals must be kept clean and groomed to avoid shedding and dander.
8. Owners of service animals are liable for any harm or injury caused by the animal to other students, staff, visitors, and/or property.
9. The animal must be a dog or, in specific circumstances, a miniature horse. No other species of animal, whether wild or domestic, will be permitted in schools as a “service animal.”
10. The animal must be “required” for the individual with a disability.
11. The animal must be “individually trained” to do work or a task for the individual with a disability.
12. Special Provisions/Miniature Horses: Requests to permit a miniature horse to accompany a student or adult with a disability in school buildings, in classroom, or at school functions, will be handled on a case-by-case basis, considering:
(a) The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features.
(b) Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse.
(c) Whether the miniature horse is housebroken.
(d) Whether the miniature horse’s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.
13. Removal of a Service Animal: A school administrator may require that an individual with a disability or his parents immediately remove a service animal from a school building, a classroom, or from a school function if any one of the following circumstances occurs:
(a) The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it.
(b) The animal is not housebroken.
(c) The animal’s presence would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the service, program, or activity.
14. The service animal must 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 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 handler’s control.
15. The school department is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal, including walking the animal or responding to the animal’s need to relieve itself.
(a) The school department is not responsible for providing a staff member to walk the service animal or to provide any other care or assistance to the animal.
(b) Students with service animals are expected to care for and supervise their animals. In the case of a young child or a student with disabilities who is unable to care for or supervise his service animal, the parent is responsible for providing care and supervision of the animal. Issues related to the care and supervision of service animals will be addressed on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the building administrator.
(c) The school department is not liable for any damage to persons, premises, property or facilities caused by the service animal, including, but not limited to, clean up and stain removal.
16. If any student or staff member assigned to the classroom in which a service animal is permitted suffers an allergic reaction to the animal or the student, or staff member already has a plan in place that precludes the proximity of a service animal, the person having custody and control of the animal will be required to remove the animal to a different location designated by the building principal or designee and an alternative plan will be developed with appropriate school department staff. Such plan could include the reassignment of the person having custody and control of the animal to a different classroom assignment. This will also apply if an individual on school transportation suffers an allergic reaction. In this case, an alternate plan will be developed in coordination with appropriate school department, and transportation staff including the involvement of the parents/guardian of the students.
17. When a student will be accompanied by an service animal at school or in other school department facilities on a regular basis, such staff member or such student's parent or guardian, as well as the animal's owner and any other person who will have custody and control of the animal will be required to sign a document stating that they have read and understood the foregoing.
Reference: ADA Regulations, 28 CFR part 35 (as amended, 2010)