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9.47.P.1 Animals in Schools

Section 9.47 - Policy


Animals may be brought into the classroom for educational purposes.  However, they must be appropriately and humanely cared for, and properly handled.  Any person who wishes to bring an animal into the classroom must receive prior permission from the Principal.  The following guidelines shall apply to animals in the schools:
  • Prior to granting permission, teachers should check with the school office regarding any known allergies among students in the classroom.  If allergies exist, parents must be contacted for further direction.
  • Animals shall not be transported on school buses.
  • Teachers must assume primary responsibility for the humane and proper treatment of any animals in the classroom.
  • Before an animal is brought into the classroom, parents will be notified and inquired of regarding any possible health risks to their student.
  • Only the teacher or students with written parent permission and designated by the teacher are to handle and/or care for the animals.
  • If animals are to be kept in the classroom on days when classes are not in session, the teacher must make arrangements for their care and safety.
  • Staff members or students who have been bitten by an animal shall report such incident to the principal immediately.  The Principal should notify the public health authorities if the injury merits medical follow-up.  Public health authorities should determine the appropriate action and period of confinement for an animal if an injury results.  Any animal involved in a serious injury must be impounded until authorization for release is granted by health authorities.

Prior to granting or denying requests to include animals in the school’s instructional program, the principal will evaluate the following issues: 
  • Whether there is an educational benefit to be gained by the inclusion of the animal in the instructional program; 
  • Whether there is an appropriate plan for the control of the animal, especially for wild or poisonous animals; 
  • That any health concerns involving students, staff or other animals have been thoroughly addressed, for instance allergies, the vaccination status of the animal, if relevant, or the transmission of disease from the animal; 
  • The animal’s health, safety and well-being have been appropriately evaluated; and
  • Sanitary issues have been addressed, including the treatment of animal wastes and the personal hygiene of students or staff who will come in contact with the animals. 

The following procedures are for inclusion of service animals in the classroom:
  • Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets. 
  • Use of a service animal by a student with a disability will be allowed in school when it is determined that the student’s disability requires such use in order to assist or accommodate access to the instructional program, school services and/or school activities. 
  • Use of a service animal by an employee with a disability will be allowed when such use is necessary as a reasonable accommodation to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of their job or to access benefits of employment provided to all employees in the same job classification. 
  • The use of a service animal by an individual with a disability will not be conditioned on the payment of a fee, security deposit or surcharge. 

Before a service animal will be permitted in school, on school property or at school sponsored events, the student’s parent or the employee must provide a description of the task(s) the service animal is expected to perform in assisting the person with a disability. 

The District will provide access to a person with a disability who needs a service animal provided that the tasks performed by the service animal are directly related to the disability and the animal has been individually trained to perform a task, is housebroken, is free of disease and parasites, has a harness, leash or tether so it cannot run free, and is under the control of the person with a disability. 

A service animal must also be licensed and immunized in accordance with city, county and state laws, regulations and ordinances.  

Parents or animal handlers who will be present in school for the purpose of assisting a student with his/her service animal are required to submit to a sex offender registry and criminal background check. In addition, parents and handlers must comply with all standards of conduct that apply to school employees and volunteers.

The Principal or District administrator may request an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from school, a school sponsored activity or school property if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control the animal. Examples of the animal being out of control include, but are not limited to the following: 
  • The presence of the animal poses a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others; i.e, a student may have an allergy to the service animal; 
  • The animal significantly disrupts or interferes with the instruction program, school activities or student learning. However, annoyance on the part of the others is not an unreasonable risk to property or others to justify the removal of the service animal; 
  • The presence of the animal would result in a fundamental alteration of any school program;  
  • The individual in control of the animal fails to appropriately care for the animal, including feeding, exercising, taking outside for performance of excretory functions and cleaning up after the animal; 
  • The animal fails to consistently perform the function(s)/service(s) to assist or accommodate the individual with the disability; 
  • The animal is ill; or 
  • The animal is not housebroken. 

If the District excludes a service animal, it will provide the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program or activity without having the service animal on the premises.