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Government Won’t Let Disabled Child Bring Service Dog To School

in Law/Politics by
   

Thank you, government, for giving us all things so good and beautiful. Without you, there would be riots and chaos in the street, or possibly even disabled middle school girls bringing their service dogs to school with them.

This just in from Napoleon, Michigan. Brent and Stacy Fry are suing their local school district because their daughter, known as F.E. in litigation documents to protect her identity, just isn’t getting anywhere by asking politely. She was born with cerebral palsy and relies heavily on her service dog, Wonder, to get around her home and school.

Unfortunately for the Frys, the local school district doesn’t allow dogs. Not even a loyal service companion like Wonder, on whom F.E. has relied since the age of five for everything from help opening doors to getting around the hallways.

After an initial denial of F.E.’s request and a protracted back-and-forth, the school district allowed Wonder to accompany F.E. to school on a “trial basis” with certain restrictions. For example, Wonder could come to school with F.E., but not help her go to the bathroom or out to recess. When the trial period ended, the school declined to renew the temporary permission they had granted, leaving the Fry family to choose between homeschooling and sending their daughter to school in another county.

Being the good Americans they are, the Frys sued the local school district in federal court under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the case currently awaits argumentation before the Supreme Court of the United States.

What is the issue pending before our nation’s highest Court? Why, procedural technicalities, of course. The Frys argue they have standing to sue in federal court. The school district says they must first exhaust their remedies within the fourth branch of our federal government, the administrative adjudication system. And on it goes, all at the expense of the taxpayers of Napoleon, Michigan…

…and of course the peace of mind of a disabled middle school girl who so clearly poses a threat to the public order.

This is not to say that the procedural issues shouldn’t be dealt with. You won’t hear me say that following the procedures prescribed by law should not be adjudicated clearly and followed faithfully.

But I will call into question the federal administrative state that forces anyone with a complaint against the government, much less a plaintiff so laughably innocent, to go through this sort of rigamarole.

The Americans With Disabilities Act, for example, leaves families like the Frys to spend months or even years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to litigate the merits of their daughter’s case before they can so much as establish their standing to sue in the first place.

Even more than that, I’ll take my place in the jury box of public opinion to question whether this should be an issue in the first place.

Does a disabled child bringing a service dog to school pose such a threat? Where would we be without government to make sure girls and their puppies don’t thrust a wrench into the delicate balance of our administrative law system?

Luke is an attorney, campaign consultant, lobbyist, and historian with a passion for liberty and a nerdy sense of humor. He holds a Jurisdoctorate Degree in law and a Bachelors degree in communications.

  • shouldnt school staff take care of their students?

  • Bruce Catlin

    It isn’t question of whether she could bring the the dog to school with her. Question is did she have the right to. Yes. The school was wrong in the way they handled it from the the very beginning. The court agreed, as courts have in many similar cases. What the judge (and a higher court on appeal) would not do is penalize or assign blame to the school system. He said they had not fully pursued other legal avenues in place to handle disputes with the school system. So she won the part about discrimination but did not go through the sometimes year long (or more) process of jumping through hoops that OKs you to get resolution from a government agency. So the Supreme Court is basically going to decide if two or three years of legal red tape might be a bit much to burden a plaintiff with, especially if it affects a child’s education during the process. I hope they decide it is.

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