IMG Animals and Service Animals in School


The Principal, in consultation with the school nurse, shall utilize the Department of Public Health guidelines and review student health records to determine which animals may be allowed in the school building. No animal shall be brought to school without prior permission of the building Principal. The decision of the Principal shall be final.

Educational Purposes Use of animals to achieve specific curriculum objectives may be allowed by the building Principal provided student health and safety is not jeopardized and the individual requesting that the animal be brought to school is responsible for adhering to the conditions established by the Principal to protect the health and well-being of students.

Student Health The health and well-being of students is the District’s highest priority. No animals may be brought to school or kept in the school, classroom, office or common area that may negatively impact the health of any student who must utilize that area. Animals that cause an allergic reaction or impair the health of students shall be removed from the school.

Service Animals (Guide or Assistance Dogs) The Shutesbury School Committee does not permit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those who require the assistance of a service animal. The District will comply with Massachusetts law concerning the rights of persons with guide or assistance dogs and with federal law and will permit such animals on school premises and on school transportation.

For purposes of this policy, a “service animal includes any animal that has been certified to do the work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” The regulations further state that a public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices or procedures to permit the use of any animal by an individual with a disability if the animal has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with the disability.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that individuals with disabilities cannot perform themselves. Service animals are not pets. There are several kinds of service animals that assist individuals with disabilities. Examples include, but are not limited to, animals that:

Assist individuals who are blind or have severe sight impairments as “seeing eye dogs” or guide dogs.”

Alert individuals with hearing impairments to sounds;

♦   Pull wheelchairs or carry and pick-up items for individuals with mobility impairments; and

Assist mobility-impaired individuals with balance.
Assist individuals

The District shall not assume or take custody or control of, or responsibility for, any service animal or the care or feeding thereof. The owner or person having custody and control of the animal shall be liable for any damage to persons, premises, property, or facilities caused by the service animal, including, but not limited to, clean up, stain removal, etc.

If, in the opinion of the School Principal or authorized designee, any service animal is not in the control of its handler, the service animal may be excluded from the school or program. If it is not housebroken, it may be excluded or required to wear diapers. The service animal can also be excluded if it presents a direct and immediate threat to others in the school. The parent or guardian of the student having custody and control of the animal will be required to remove the service animal from District premises immediately.

If any student or staff member assigned to the classroom in which a service animal is permitted suffers an allergic reaction to the animal, the person having custody and control of the animal will be required to remove the animal to a different location designated by the Principal or designee and an alternative plan will be developed with the Principal. This will also apply if an individual on school transportation suffers an allergic reaction. In this case, an alternate plan will be developed in coordination with the Principal and transportation staff as well as the involvement of the parents/guardian of the student.

When a student will be accompanied by a service animal at school on a regular basis, a staff member or a student’s parent/guardian, as well as the animal’s owner and any other person who will have custody and control of the animal will be required to sign a document stating that they have read and understood the foregoing.

The Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee shall be responsible for developing procedures to accommodate a student’s use of an assistance dog in District facilities and on school transportation vehicles.

Leash or Restraint
Consistent with Shutesbury District Policy K, all animals allowed in Shutesbury Elementary School shall be on a leash or otherwise constrained.

SOURCE: MASC February 2011
First Read: 07-21-11
Second reading, first vote: 09-15-11
Final Vote: 10-20-11