In my previous post, I told you that the new policy manual for the Huntsville City Schools includes a passage on rules regarding miniature horses used as service animals in the schools.
I’m astounded that these guidelines are in place, when there is no mention of policies governing who can be sent and why to the Elk River Treatment Program, cut off from contact with the outside world, for indefinite stays of months and months.
But back to what is there — the horses. Miniature horses are used as service animals for the disabled. Service animals are allowed where others animals of the same species — and usually we’re talking dogs — are not, as provided for under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 28 CFR Part 35, the source for the four pages of service animal policies, Section 4.14, of the HCS document.
I’m all for service animals, make no mistake.
But why — why so much on service animals when other matters are entirely ignored?
Just a bit of googling later, I may have an answer. Remember last October when Board member Jennie Robinson told Russ Winn “that she knew that the system was meeting the requirements of the IEPs because the system isn’t being sued”?
A jaw-dropper, that. True, the HCS hasn’t been sued about the IEP negligence — yet — but, no, all is not well. Individual Educational Plans, also an ADA matter, like service animals, weren’t met last fall, or last spring, and there’s no reason to expect they will be this fall.
Meanwhile, up in good old Fairfax County, Virginia, in 2011, 12-year-old Andrew Stevens was finally allowed “after a grueling battle with his school district” to bring his service dog Alaya to school with him. Andrew has epilepsy. He used to have as many as 20 seizures daily, but with Alaya’s help in detecting and preventing these, Andrew is averaging 5-10 a day. Once his parents finally raised the $18,000 needed to provide him with Alaya, “Angelo and Nancy Stevens assumed that Fairfax County school officials would follow federal and state laws and allow Alaya to accompany Andrew to his sixth-grade classes at Fort Belvoir Elementary School – a role service dogs perform for many disabled children across the country,” but instead the Fairfax County Schools did all they could to keep Alaya out of his school.
Finally, when the story was reported in the Washington Post and became the subject of petitions on the internationally watched site change.org, Fairfax officials decided to comply with the law.
I wonder who wrote this policy manual, and so does geekpalaver.
Curiouser and curiouser, neigh?