Mickey Stewart of Redmond, Washington has acted as her son, J.T.’s in-school service canine handler for six years. Her place has at all times been voluntary and unpaid.
Now, the Lake Washington Faculty District has suspended Stewart for a 3rd time and ordered the household to pay for knowledgeable handler for J.T.’s canine, Curly. In response, Stewart has filed a lawsuit towards the district to enchantment her suspension.
J.T. has autism and having Curly by his facet in school helps him focus, based on his mom. As per the People with Disabilities Act, educated service canine are to be permitted in all public locations so long as they’re “beneath management.” Within the Stewarts’ case, this requires Curly to be accompanied by a handler.
The district acknowledged that they suspended Stewart’s handler privileges as a result of her presence makes the varsity workers ‘nervous’, however the household believes it’s their try to get the service canine out of Redmond Excessive Faculty.
J.T. is at present the one scholar within the Lake Washington Faculty District using his proper to a service animal, however the Stewarts imagine others would have them if the district would pay for a handler.
Most space residents can’t afford to have a member of the family act as a full-time handler to their little one’s service animal. The Stewarts really feel that the district’s refusal to foot the invoice constitutes discrimination towards these in want of canine like Curly.
J.T.’s father serves on the Lake Washington Faculty Board and feels the lawsuit is about extra than simply restoring his spouse’s handler privileges. The couple additionally desires to make certain each father or mother has the identical alternative to offer a wanted service for his or her little one.
The Stewarts’ lawyer Kathy George says there’s a easy resolution:
“Which is the district ought to have a basic coverage of supporting these service canine when they’re wanted and never making it so tough.”
The Lake Washington Faculty District launched a written assertion saying that federal privateness legal guidelines forestall them from commenting. Their web site says it meets the wants of all of its college students, together with those that are disabled.
H/T & Featured Photos through KIRO 7