Administrative Procedure

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1 Durham Catholic District School Board The Board Administrative Procedure Title: Use of Service Dogs by Students in Schools Procedure #: AP434-7 Administrative Area: Policy Reference: Operations Accessibility (PO434) Date Approved: April 26, 2010 Dates of Amendment: 1.0 Purpose Service dogs are trained to provide assistance to children and adults with disabilities. Service dogs allow an individual to attain independence in their daily tasks and they assist with safety, mental wellness and learning needs. This administrative procedure provides directions for schools to follow when a parent requests the admission and use of a service dog by a student in a Durham Catholic District School Board school. Decisions regarding the admission and use of service dogs are made on a case by case basis. Entry of service dogs into schools is decided after extensive consultation. The request will be reviewed by the Principal in consultation with the Superintendent of Student Services or designate. 2.0 Definitions Disability Section 10(1) of the Human Rights Code provides a broad definition of the term disability, as follows: (a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device, (b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability, (c) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language, (d) a mental disorder, or (e) an injury or disability for which benefit were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997; ( handicap ). Durham Catholic District School Board Page 1 of 6 Administrative Procedure 1 st Reading

2 Title: Use of Service Dogs by Students in Schools (AP434-7) Administrative Area: Operations 2.0 Definitions (Cont d) Person with a disability means a person who, because of a disability as defined in section 2 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, is dependent on a guide dog, a service dog or a white cane. Service Dog, including guide dogs, assistance dogs and skills dogs means a dog trained to provide service for a person with a disability who is not a blind person and having the qualifications prescribed by the regulations made under this Act; (Appendix B lists the guidelines in Ontario for the training of service dogs). Under this Act, people with service dogs have the right to enter any public place with their handlers, including schools and buses. Since service dogs have had intensive training, these dogs present minimal risk to or impact on others. Companion Dogs a dog that provides companionship and emotional support to a student who has a developmental, behavioural, or physical disability. The dog may be used to provide emotional or social support. These dogs have training but do not meet the standards of training required by the Ontario government to be a service dog. Dog Handler or Handler ideally, the handler for the service dog is the student who is utilizing the dog s services. When the student is not able to be the handler of the dog, the dog is supervised by an adult who is responsible for both the student and the dog. The adult will supervise the dog and assist with its training. The handler at school will be trained by the training centre which was responsible for the training of the dog and ongoing training will be provided by the student s family. All costs for training the school handler will be assumed by the student s family. Approved Service Dog Training Facilities A certificate of training through an accredited agency must be provided. Agencies must prove that their service dog has met the standards of the Ontario government and is certified as a service dog in Ontario (see Appendix B). Tethering a term used to indicate the attachment of the service dog to a student with special needs. In this case, the dog is attached to the student by both a leash and a belt system. The student is encouraged to control the dog by the leash but the dog also responds to adult commands and may direct the student s movement by means of the belt system. In this manner, the student is tethered to the dog. 3.0 Procedures 3.1 When Parents/guardians inform the Principal that their child and a service dog are trained to work together and that the parent wants the service dog to accompany the child during the school day, the Principal is to provide parents/guardians with Request for Service Dog Involvement with a Student Package (Appendix A). Parents must complete this package and return it to the principal before the implementation process can begin. The following must be included in the package: A letter from a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons or the College of Psychologists confirming the diagnosis of a disorder as well as a recommendation for the use of a certified service dog. Durham Catholic District School Board Page 2 of 6 Administrative Procedure 1 st Reading

3 Title: Use of Service Dogs by Students in Schools (AP434-7) Administrative Area: Operations 3.0 Procedures (Cont d) 3.1 (Cont d) A letter from an accredited registered Service Dogs Training Centre (Appendix B) stating that a certified service dog has been placed with the student and the date of formal certification Up-to-date vaccinations for the service dog Current municipal licensing in the location where the dog and child reside. 3.2 The Principal will inform and consult with the Superintendent of Student Services or designate prior to planning the implementation process. 3.3 The Principal will schedule a School Team Meeting with the parents/guardians, a representative of the dog training school, the Student Services Coordinator, the Program Support Teacher, the classroom teacher(s), and the educational assistant(s) who work with the student. A designate of the Superintendent of Student Services may be invited to this meeting. See Appendix D for School Team Meeting Guide. Discussions will include such information as: safety considerations (e.g., severe allergies, staff or students with asthma, fear of dogs, etc.); the potential impact of the involvement of the dog on the school community; dog care requirements, handling routines and responsibilities including who will act as the handler at school guidelines for staff and students; transportation to and from the school; the role of and communication with the parent/guardian; resources available to the school; cultural sensitivities to animals. 3.4 At the meeting, the Principal will advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) that all costs related to the provision of the service dog are the financial responsibility of the parent. 3.5 The Principal will provide information to the Catholic School Council and other interested community members about the request for the use of a service dog at school and its implications. The Principal will invite the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student needing the dog to the CSS meeting. Durham Catholic District School Board Page 3 of 6 Administrative Procedure 1 st Reading

4 Title: Use of Service Dogs by Students in Schools (AP434-7) Administrative Area: Operations 3.0 Procedures (Cont d) 3.6 A copy of the Request for Service Dog Involvement with a Student Package (Appendix A), as well as the letter from a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons or the College of Psychologists confirming the diagnosis and the subsequent recommendation for the use of a certified service dog will be stored in the Ontario Student Record (OSR). 3.7 All school staff members, both teaching and non-teaching, must be informed early in the process of the request to have a service dog in the school. Their input will be used by the Principal in the implementation process. Arrangements will be made by the Principal to notify all relevant employee services that a service dog will be in the school. 3.8 Signs must be placed on the entrance doors of the school to inform visitors of the dog s presence. 3.9 When a decision to approve the request is made, careful consideration of all of the relevant factors will assist in the transition of the dog into the school environment. Attention to consistency, routines, communication, staff in-service, school assemblies, and community notification are required An appropriate fire and emergency exit plan must be developed. Personnel from the local fire/police departments should be consulted when developing these plans The use of the service dog will be reviewed annually (within the first 30 school days of each school year) or as deemed necessary by school administration or the student s parent/guardian and/or student 18 years or older. Revised vaccinations and municipal licencing must be provided at this time Procedures for the Transportation of Service Dogs on DSTS Bus Routes Under the Human Rights Code and the Blind Persons Act, and the Board s Accessibility Policy (PO434) a service dog is permitted to ride the bus with the student Once a Principal has approved a service dog to attend school with a student and transportation is required, the Principal will contact the Manager of Transportation Services and the Student Services Family of Schools Coordinator The transport provider will be given proof by the Principal that the service dog is licensed and trained as a service dog The bus operator will ensure that there is documentation about the service dog with the route information Basic training for the driver and other students on the bus will be provided by the parent to ensure there is an understanding of what is allowed. This training may include one or more training runs. Durham Catholic District School Board Page 4 of 6 Administrative Procedure 1 st Reading

5 Title: Use of Service Dogs by Students in Schools (AP434-7) Administrative Area: Operations 3.0 Procedures (Cont d) 3.12 (Cont d) The service dog should not sit or lie in the aisle of the bus. Wherever possible the dog should be in the seat compartment and/or floor, away from the aisle, to prevent the dog from becoming a safety hazard The transportation department must ensure that any students from other schools or school boards travelling with the Service Dog are advised of the presence of the service dog (see Appendix G for a sample letter) The Durham Catholic District School Board may determine the need for another person to accompany the student and service dog while using transportation Exclusion of Service Dogs 4.0 Sources A service animal can only be excluded from access to the premises where this is required by another law. Examples include the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Food Safety and Quality Act. The former Act prohibits service animals in places where food is prepared, processed, or handled (e.g., kitchen of school cafeteria or culinary arts classroom) although service dogs are permitted where food is served and sold (e.g., school cafeteria or lunchroom) Where there is a risk to the health and safety of another person as a result of the presence of a service animal, consideration must be given to options available prior to exclusion of a service animal. An example would be a situation where an individual has a severe allergy to the service animal. It is the Board s expectation that the situation be fully analyzed and all measures to eliminate the risk be considered (e.g., creating distance between the two individuals concerned, making reasonable alterations to schedules, etc.) A service animal can be excluded if it is of a breed that is prohibited by law. An example would be the Ontario Dog Owners Liability Act which places restrictions on pit bull terriers. Ontario Human Rights Code Persons with Disabilities Act Ontarians with Disabilities Act Ontario Dog Owners Liability Act Food Safety and Quality Act Durham Catholic District School Board Page 5 of 6 Administrative Procedure 1 st Reading

6 Title: Use of Service Dogs by Students in Schools (AP434-7) Administrative Area: Operations 5.0 Related Appendices Appendix A Request for Service Dog Involvement with a Student Package Appendix B Guidelines Approved by the Ontario Government for Guide and Service Dog Training Appendix C Administrative Checklist for the Implementation of a Service Dog into a School Environment Appendix D School Team Meeting Guide Appendix E Sample Letter to Parents in the Community Regarding the Admittance of a Service Dog into the School Appendix F Sample Letter to the Families of Children in the Class(es) Appendix G Sample Letter to Those Sharing Transportation 6.0 Related Policies Accessibility Policy (PO434) Durham Catholic District School Board Page 6 of 6 Administrative Procedure 1 st Reading

7 Appendix A Request for Service Dog Involvement with a Student Package Information for Parents/Guardians Requesting a Service Dog in the School Dear Parents/Guardians: The successful implementation of a service dog into a school setting depends on clear communication, a well-informed school community and careful planning. This package will help you provide the necessary information to assist the Principal to make the best possible decisions for your child and other students as well as for the staff, volunteers, and visitors in the school. The information will be filed in your child s Ontario Student Record (OSR). 1. The use of a service dog is considered to be an accommodation to help your child learn and to develop the necessary skills to achieve success and independence at school. The use of a companion dog is generally not considered to be an accommodation under the Ontario curriculum. If your child already has an Individual Education Plan, it will be reviewed at a School Team Meeting, or one will be developed in consultation with you. The Principal will invite you, your child s teacher, a representative from the training centre, the Program Support Teacher (PST) in the school, and the Student Services Coordinator to the School Team Meeting to discuss your child s needs, the accommodations that are already in place for your child, as well as the additional assistance provided by a service dog. 2. It is important that you provide the information that addresses the safety of the students and staff. For example, the Principal needs to know that the dog has no history of nipping, biting, or growling at children or adults, nor exhibits aggressive protective behavior. The Principal will also determine if any student or member of staff has severe medical or psychological reactions to dogs that may prevent or restrict the involvement of the dog at the school. 3. The well-being of the dog is also very important. Its care, handling and training needs will be addressed and your input as a trained handler is valuable. The Principal needs to know what resources are available to facilitate the transition of the service dog to school and the implementation of the plan. Strategies for becoming familiar with the building and school grounds, introduction to assemblies/concerts, recess, and informing the staff about interacting with the dog will need to be included in the planning to be as consistent and fair to the dog as possible. Since the Catholic School Council advises the Principal on matters pertaining to the school community, it is customary to provide an information session for the council and other interested parents. Important information shared in this way facilitates understanding and acceptance of new practices at the school. You will be asked to participate in the information session. 4. After all the discussion and pertinent information is in place, the goal will be to create and implement the plan as soon as possible. 5. Your responsibilities include: Transporting or walking the dog to and from school, or facilitating the use of bus transportation; Providing the required information and equipment for the care of the dog; Assuming financial responsibility for the dog s training, veterinary care, and other related costs; Working co-operatively with the school staff to make this accommodation a success; Assisting the Principal to communicate relevant information to the school community; Providing the Principal with all the required documentation in a timely fashion; and Informing the Principal of all relevant information that may affect the students and staff. 6. Once the necessary information has been discussed, the Principal will consult with the Superintendent of Schools and the Superintendent of Student Services prior to the admission of the service dog into the school. If approved, the school will then implement the steps within the plan to ensure a smooth transition for the entry of the service dog.

8 Appendix A Request for Service Dog Involvement with a Student Name of Student: School: Date of Birth: Grade: Address: Name of Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Home Telephone: Work Telephone: 1. I/We request that permission be granted for to use a service dog in school and at school related activities. 2. Length of time the student and dog have worked together: 3. Duration of this requested intervention (not to exceed one school year) 4. Support the service dog will provide the student: 5. Additional information that will assist the Principal: continued on page 2

9 Appendix A 2 6. I/We understand that it is our responsibility to: Transport or walk the dog to and from school, or work with the school to arrange busing if the student qualifies for transportation. Provide a certificate of training from a guide dog training facility that the Attorney General or an office of the Ministry designated by the Attorney General in writing that meets criteria outlined in Appendix B. Documentation from member(s) of the College of Physicians and Surgeons or from a member of the College of Psychologists confirming a diagnosis as well as a recommendation for the use of a service dog. Provide the required equipment and dog care items. Assume financial responsibility for the dog s training, veterinary care, and, other related costs. Work co-operatively with the school staff to make this accommodation a success. Assist the Principal to communicate relevant information to the school community. Provide the Principal with required documentation in a timely fashion. Inform the Principal of all relevant information that may affect the child, the other students and/or staff. Signature of Parent/Guardian Date For Durham Catholic District School Board Use Only Request Approved Request Not Approved Reason request not approved: Signature of Principal Date cc: Parent OSR Superintendent of Student Services

10 Appendix B Guidelines Approved by the Ontario Government for Guide and Service Dog Training A guide dog training facility that the Attorney General or an officer of his or her Ministry designated by the Attorney General in writing that meets the following criteria: 1. The facility provides a minimum of three months of training for a prospective guide dog that involves, in part: exposure to situations in the field, including street traffic, public transportation and the negotiation of stationary and moving obstacles and barriers, and a minimum of 10 days of training with a guide dog user. 2. The facility ensures that a guide dog that successfully completes a training program at the facility: does not demonstrate social behavior inappropriate to a guide dog; does not suffer from an ailment, disease or physical disorder that would substantially interfere with its duties as a guide dog, and demonstrates basic obedience skills with a leash and voice commands. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 58, s.1; O.Reg. 649/05, s.1.

11 Appendix C Administrative Checklist for the Implementation of a Service Dog into a School Environment Task Date Completed Advise parent(s)/guardian(s) and/or student 18 years or older, making the request that the Durham Catholic District School Board has a procedure to follow before a decision is made. Provide parent(s)/guardian(s) with the Durham Catholic District School Board Appendix A Request for Service Dog Involvement with a Student Package. Inform Family of Schools Superintendent, the Superintendent of Student Services and the Family of Schools Coordinator of the request. Convene a School Team Meeting with the following in attendance (please complete Appendix D and file in OSR): Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and/or student over the age of 18 Classroom teacher(s) Program Support Teacher Student Services Coordinator Educational Assistant(s) who will work with the dog Representative from the dog training centre Review the request with respect to its consistency with the Individual Education Plan. Receive copies of the required documentation: Copy of Appendix A Request for Service Dog Involvement with a Student Copy of dog s registration with a recognized training centre Copy of current, official vaccination certificate for the dog Documentation from member(s) of the College of Physicians and Surgeons or from a member of the College of Psychologists confirming a diagnosis as well as a recommendation for the use of a service dog Copy of training certification of parent(s)/guardian(s) Proof of municipal dog license Inform school staff that a request has been made and receive their input. Inform appropriate bus contact that a request has been made and receive their input continued on page 2

12 2 Task Date Completed Inform School Council and community at the School Council meeting and receive their input. (Use Appendix E Sample Letter to Parents in the Community Regarding the Admittance of a Service Dog into the School. Meet with parent(s)/guardian(s) and/or student 18 years or older, to inform them of the information you have received, and to review the implementation plan, including the fire and emergency exit plans. Advise the Family of Schools Superintendent and the Superintendent of Student Services, of your actions. Develop a communication strategy to inform students, staff, community and relevant employee representatives: Parents (Appendix E) Staff meeting School Council Classroom presentations (Appendix F) All students Bus staff and parents of students requiring transportation on same bus (Appendix G) Post signs on the entrance doors and at any other places to advise visitors of the dog s presence. File relevant documentation and correspondence in the documentation file of the student s OSR. Review Appendix A Request for a Service Dog Involvement with a Student, annually and in the first 30 days of each new school year. The use of the service dog will be reviewed annually (within the first 30 school days of each school year) or as deemed necessary by the school administration or the student s parent(s)/guardian(s) and/or student 18 years or older. Review Appendix D School Team Meeting Guide, and make any necessary changes.

13 Appendix D School Team Meeting Guide Name of Student: School: Principal: Date: Grade: Dog s Name: Dog s Handler (if not the student): 1. People present at the School Team Meeting: 2. Rationale for the request for a service dog in school: 3. Management Plan (for the care of the service dog): a) Water needs (provision of a water bowl, procedures for cleaning): b) Bladder/bowel needs (frequency, location, clean-up): c) Other considerations: Page 1 of 3

14 Appendix D 4. Parent and Administration Expectations: a) Transportation to/from school: b) Instructional time: c) Transition time: d) Lunch time: e) Special programming considerations (class trips, assemblies, rotary, etc.) f) Safety considerations (allergies, asthma, cultural issues) g) Impact of the dog on the school community h) Guidelines for staff and students i) Relationship between dog and student j) Role of the parent and communication Page 2 of 3

15 Appendix D k) Resources available to the school 5. Next Steps cc: Student Services Co-ordinator Parent OSR Page 3 of 3

16 Appendix E Sample Letter to Parents in the Community Regarding the Admittance of a Service Dog into the School Date Dear Parent/Guardian: This letter is to inform you that beginning on there will be a service dog in our school assisting one of our students. This service dog is a highly trained animal and is able to assist in many of the routine activities which may pose some challenges for this student. Service dogs are comparable to Guide Dogs for the Blind and are included in every aspect of the student s life. The child s right to have a service dog is protected under Human Rights legislation, and as such, it has the right to be with the student wherever he/she goes (e.g., public buildings, transportation). Information about the service dog will be shared at the Catholic School Council meeting on. You are invited to attend the meeting so we can answer any questions you may have about the service dog. We will also be hosting an information session at the school for all of our students to help them understand how we will integrate the service dog into our school day. All our students will be instructed as to the proper routines regarding the service dog. Most importantly, they will be told that the service dog is a working service dog while at school, and as such should not be approached or touched like a pet dog would be. As always, we will respect the rights of all our students in providing a safe learning environment. If you have any specific concerns regarding the presence of the service dog at school, please feel free to contact me. Sincerely, Principal cc: Family of Schools Superintendent Superintendent of Student Services OSR

17 Appendix F Sample Letter to the Families of Children in the Class(es) Date Dear Parent/Guardian: This letter is to inform you that beginning on service dog in our school assisting one of the students in your child s class. there will be a This service dog is a highly trained animal and is able to assist in many of the routine activities which may pose some challenges for this student. Service dogs are comparable to Guide Dogs for the Blind and are included in every aspect of the student s life. The child s right to have a service dog is protected under Human Rights legislation. There will be information sessions planned here at the school to integrate the service dog into our school day. All our students will be instructed as to the proper routines regarding the service dog. Most importantly, they will be told that the service dog is a working service dog while at school, and as such should not be approached or touched like a pet dog would be. If you have any specific concerns regarding the presence of the service dog in your child s class, please contact me at the school. Sincerely, Principal cc: Family of Schools Superintendent Superintendent of Student Services OSR

18 Appendix G Sample Letter to Those Sharing Transportation Date Dear Parent/Guardian: This letter is to inform you that beginning on there will be a service dog in our school assisting one of our students, and that the student and the service dog will be sharing transportation with your child daily to and from school. This service dog is a highly trained animal for our student and is able to assist in many of the routine activities which may pose difficulties for this student. Service dogs are comparable to Guide Dogs for the Blind and are included in every aspect of the student s life. The child s right to have a service dog is protected under Human Rights legislation. There will be information sessions at the school to support the integration of the service dog into our school day and all our students will be instructed as to the proper routines around the service dog. Most importantly, they will be told that the service dog is a working service dog while at school or on the bus, and as such should not be approached or touched like a pet dog would be. If you have any specific concerns regarding the presence of the service dog while on route to and from the school with your child, please feel free to contact me. Sincerely, Principal cc: Family of Schools Superintendent Superintendent of Student Services OSR

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