Horse Sense. Federal Law Trumps HCS Policy.

When I first came across the passage on miniature horses in the new Huntsville City Schools Policy Manual, I thought it absurd. As I continued hunting through the manual for the policies governing how a student could land in a teepee at the Elk River Treatment Program for as long as the supe desires, and found nary a word, I was outraged. Now my thinking is that devoting four pages to service animal policies (Section 4.14, of the HCS document) is arrogant and lazy.

Why?

Simple: It’s just a cut and paste job. I hope whoever was paid to develop this manual didn’t charge by the page.

The Huntsville City Schools doesn’t need a policy on service animals, including miniature horses. It simply needs to comply with federal law, here 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.

In lieu of the four pages in its new policy manual, one sentence would have sufficed:

HCS complies with Federal laws related to the use of service animals.

This itself should evoke a “well, duh” response: of course the HCS complies with Federal law, right?

If more detail were needed, the specifics could have been placed in an appendix to distinguish them as not originating with or specific to HCS.

I can think of guidelines pertaining to service animals that may have been appropriately placed in the body of the HCS Policy Manual. These would be policies that are not stated in the Federal law and are not in conflict with it. For example:

On pep rally days, and other grand occasions as dictated by the supe, all service animals shall show their school spirit by wearing the school colors in bows in their tails.

See the difference? Fairly easy, right?

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