The fight between a Florida school district and a student with autism who wanted to bring his service dog to class is over — with no real resolution.
The Collier County School Board approved a settlement last week that will pay William and Brenda Hughes $125,000 to settle a lawsuit brought forward on behalf of their son, Derek.
The suit alleged that the district violated the Individuals With Disabilities Act, the American Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
In return for the Hughes dropping the complaint, and agreeing not to enroll their son in Collier County’s schools again, the district forked over the money and admitted no wrongdoing.
Hughes and his wife pulled their autistic son, Derek, from Collier public schools several years ago. He now attends school in Chester County, Pennsylvania, according to NaplesNews.com
The family had argued that the school district was negligent by not allowing the Pine Ridge Middle School student to bring his service dog to school.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, autism, autistic, collier county, derek hughes, dogs, federal court, florida, lawsuit, naples, news, pets, school board, school district, service, service dog, settled, settlement
An autistic student’s right to bring his service dog to school was upheld by an Illinois appeals court last week.
The appeals court upheld a Monroe County court ruling that permitted Carter Kalbfleisch to bring his autism service dog, Corbin, to school. The Columbia School District had appealed the lower court decision.
Instead of following the lower court’s ruling, the district decided it could not meet Carter’s educational needs and sent him to the Illinois Center for Autism, agreeing to pay for his education there, but refusing to pay the cost of trasnporting Carter and the dog to school, according to the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois.
”We’re happy that it went our way,” said Chris Kalbfleisch, Carter’s father. “Hopefully the school will change their direction with this. … Hopefully we can move forward and get our son back in school.”
“We hope they come to the realization that the law is the law and they have to follow it,” said Kalbfleisch’s attorney, Clay St. Clair. “Just because you don’t like a law doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the law. We hope they do what they are supposed to do.”
School and district officials argued the dog would be disruptive, and possibly cause allergic reactions in other students.
The school district has the option of accepting the appellate court’s decision, or appealing the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: appeal, autism, autistic, carter kalbfleisch, columbia school district, courts, disabilities, education, illinois, law, laws, monroe county, rights, schools, service dogs, special education, student, upheld
When a Maltese-poodle mix named Mindy was found after being lost for 100 days in the woods of northwest Massachusetts, she was infested with fleas, her weight had dropped to three pounds, and her fur was so matted over her face that she couldn’t see, which explained why she was running around in circles.
She was “effectively blind,” said Martha King-Devine, of the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. “She was just skin and bones when they brought her into the shelter.”
Mindy was lost during a family trip in August, surviving more than three months among the owls, foxes, coyotes and bears who dwell in the woods, the Mansfield News Journal reports.
Mindy had disappeared when Kathy and John Dunbar stopped at a rest area on their way to Maine to visit a terminally ill relative. “I thought he put her in and he thought I put her in,” Dunbar said.
Back on the road, they realized Mindy was missing, and retraced their route, spending six hours trying to find her. They also dropped off business cards at shops and police stations, and filed a report with the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society — all, it seemed, to no avail.
On Nov. 13, though, Mindy was found by Tye Carlson, a boy with autism, about 30 miles from the rest area. Tye and his father took her to a local veterinarian, then took her home, where Tye — normally fearful of dogs, according to his mother – became fast friends with Mindy.
The Carlsons were more than happy to keep Mindy, but when they learned — through the humane society — that she had been reported missing three months earlier, Carlson and her son knew that they had to give Mindy back to her owners.
Mindy is back home with the Dunbars now.
Mrs. Carlson, meanwhile, said she is “definitely thinking” about getting a dog for her son now.
Here’s hoping he gets a great one.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: autism, autistic, bonding, dakin pioneer valley humane society, dog, dogs, fear, found, john dunbar, kathy dunbar, lost, maltese, massachusetts, mindy, pets, poodle, returned, tye carlson, woods
Chewey can stay in first grade.
A judge in Douglas County, Illinois ruled Tuesday that first grader Kaleb Drew, who has autism, can attend class with Chewey, his service dog.
The Villa Grove school district had opposed the dog’s presence, arguing he wasn’t a true service animal, and that other students might be fearful or have allergic reactions to him.
Judge Chris Freese sided with the Kaleb’s family, which argued that the yellow Labrador retriever is a service animal allowed in schools under Illinois law, according to an Associated Press report. The family said the dog is similar to a seeing-eye dog for the blind and is trained to help Kaleb deal with his disabilities.
Chewey has accompanied Kaleb to school since August under court order, pending the judge’s final ruling on the family’s lawsuit against the school district.
Similar lawsuits have been filed on behalf of autistic children in other states, including California and Pennsylvania, and another case is pending in Illinois involving 5-year-old Carter Kalbfleisch and the service dog that accompanies him to pre-kindergarten.
“I’m very pleased and happy that Kaleb and Chewey are going to get to continue their work together and continue to grow as a team and learn from each other,” Nichelle Drew, Kaleb’s mother, said after the ruling.
She says the dog keeps Kaleb from running in front of cars in the school parking lot, helps him feel calm and allows him to more easily transition from one activity to another.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: assistance dog, autism, autistic, chewey, disabilities, disability, dog, dogs, douglas county, first grade, illinois, judge, kaleb drew, labrador retriever, ruling, school district, service dog, villa grove
Over the objections of school officials, Kaleb Drew went to first grade on Tuesday with his Labrador retriever, Chewey, and his family says they’re optimistic they’ll win a court battle to keep the dog in class.
Chewey, trained to help the autistic boy deal with his disabilities, did “just as he’s supposed to” in keeping Kaleb safe and calm during his first full day back at school, said the boy’s mother, Nichelle Drew.
A Douglas County judge allowed the dog to accompany Kaleb until the family’s lawsuit against Villa Grove Elementary School in east-central Illinois goes to trial in November, according to the Associated Press.
Kaleb’s case is one of two challenging an Illinois law allowing service animals in schools.
“I hope as time goes by that maybe they’ll see that it’s not causing a problem, and they’ll let the fight go,” Nichelle Drew said. Regardless, she added, “We’re in it for the long haul.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: autism, autistic, chicago, class, classroom, dogs, douglas county, equip for equality, first grade, kaleb drew, kindergarten, monroe county, nichelle drew, schools, service, students, therapy, villa grove elementary school