646 – Services Animals Permitted

Code No. 646


PURPOSE. The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for the use of service animals in the Urbandale Community School District (the “District”). A service animal is permitted to accompany an individual with a disability onto school premises, subject to this policy and state and federal law. For purposes of this policy, “school premises” refers to school buildings, vehicles, and other district-owned or -operated property.

GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY. The District shall comply with all state and federal laws, regulations, and rules regarding the use of service animals by staff or students with a qualifying disability.

DEFINITION OF SERVICE ANIMAL. This policy applies to any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. Service animals do not include any animal other than a dog or a miniature horse; wild animals, farm animals and rodents, or animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are specifically excluded from this policy.

PROCEDURES/REQUIREMENTS. Use of service animals by staff or students with a qualifying disability is subject to the following procedures and requirements:

  1. The Superintendent or his or her designee may ask an individual with a disability, or the parent or guardian of a student with a disability, if the service animal is required because of a disability (but will not request information about the nature or extent of the disability), and may request that the individual identify and describe the work or task that the animal has been trained to perform.
  2. The Superintendent or his or her designee may require documentation that the service animal is properly licensed pursuant to local animal control licensure laws, rules, or regulations, to ensure current vaccinations;
  3. The use of a service animal on District property may be subject to a plan designed to introduce the service animal to the school environment, any appropriate training for staff and students regarding interaction with the service animal, and other activities or conditions deemed necessary by the District. However, an individual with a disability who uses a service animal will not be restricted from entry onto District property prior to completion of any training/familiarization deemed appropriate.
  4. Service animals must be under the control of their handlers at all times. Service animals must wear proper identification and always be on a leash or other form of restraint mechanism, unless the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of such mechanism would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must otherwise be under the handler’s control (voice control, signals, or other effective means).
  1. It is the responsibility of the student (or, if the student is unable, the student’s parent or parent designee) or staff person with a disability to be the animal’s handler. The handler must have the service animal utilize the animal waste and disposal area designated by the Superintendent or his or her designee at all times.
  2. Service animals will be allowed in District transportation vehicles only when the service animal is under the control of a properly trained handler, including while entering and exiting the vehicle.
  3. The District retains discretion to exclude or remove a service animal from its property if:
    1. The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control the animal’s behavior; or
    2. The animal is not housebroken; or
    3. The animal’s presence or behavior fundamentally interferes in the functions of the District; or
    4. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable modifications.
  4. Access to facilities: Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animal in all areas of the District where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go.

LIABILITY. The student (and parent/guardian) or staff member with a disability is liable for any damage to the District’s property, personal property, and any injuries to individuals caused by their service animal to the same extent that a non-disabled individual who caused such damage would be held liable by the District. The student (and parent/guardian) or staff member with a disability who uses a service animal on school district property will indemnify and hold harmless the District and its officers, employees, agents, and assigns from any such damages.

GRIEVANCES. Denial of usage of a service animal can be appealed to the District’s Section 504 Coordinator.

Date of Adoption: July 10, 2017

Legal References: 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et. seq. (Americans with Disabilities Act) 29 U.S.C. § 701 et. seq. (Section 504) Iowa Code §§ 216C.3, 216C.4, 216C.5, 216C.11


Policy 646- Service Animals Permitted

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