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Administrative Procedures

Administrative Procedure 213

.1 Service Dogs for Students with Special Needs

Background

Preamble:

 

Background

 

The division supports the use of Service Dogs as an intervention strategy recognized as an aid to children with Special Needs. This also includes the provision for service dogs in training.  The Director of Student Services is responsible for the administration of this policy.

 

The Alberta Service Dogs Act defines a service dog as an animal that has been trained by an Assistance Dogs International accredited school and that carries a Government of Alberta identification card as proof of qualification. Service Dogs are working animals allowed full public access in Alberta and are trained to meet the specific needs of students with whom they have been partnered. Service dogs may provide services to students diagnosed with disabilities as defined by the Alberta Human Rights Code – Section 10 (1) such as physical disabilities, blind or low vision, deaf/hearing impaired, autism spectrum disorder, or a seizure disorder.

 

Procedures

 

The following procedures will be followed for admittance of a Service Dog to a school.

 

A. Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

 

The parent/guardian(s) shall:

 

1. Provide a letter to the school indicating that the student has been approved for a Service Dog, and include reasons, descriptions of activity, and the benefits of having a Service Dog attend school with their child. This letter should be supplied to the school as early as possible in the process to allow for sufficient planning and transition of the Service Dog into the school setting. If necessary to supplement the student’s Individual Program Plan (IPP), the parent/guardian(s) will provide a letter from a physician or psychologist confirming the diagnosis of a recognized special need, and including a recommendation for the use of a Service Dog.

 

2. Request a copy of the Wild Rose Public School’s Service Dog Administrative Procedure (AP).

 

3. Ensure that the Service Dog meets the qualification requirements under the Alberta Service Dogs Qualifications Regulations which reads as follows:

 

1. A dog that

 

(a) has qualifications resulting from the successful completion of a training program delivered by a school or institution approved by Assistance Dogs International, Inc., or

 

(b) has passed a challenge test established or approved by the Minister, has the qualifications of a service dog for the purposes of the Act, or

 

(c) has been accepted into a training program delivered by a school or institution approved by Assistance Dogs International.

 

4. Provide detailed information and contact information from the agency training and supplying the Service Dog.

 

5. Work collaboratively with the principal, district and school staff to ensure successful integration and on-going support for the Service Dog.

 

6. Assume all financial obligations regarding the use and care of the Service Dog.

 

7. Annually provide the school and the Director of Student Services with proof of up-to-date vaccinations, a municipal Service Dog licence, and confirmation that the Service Dog is in good health.

 

B. Principal’s Responsibilities

 

The Principal shall:

 

1. Provide a copy of the Wild Rose Public School’s Service Dog Administrative Procedure to the parent/guardian of the student.

 

2. Inform the Director of Student Services that a written request has been made for Service Dog admittance to the school.

 

3. Ensure that the use of a Service Dog is consistent with the needs or recommendations of the student’s IPP.

 

4. Consult with the Superintendent, Director of Student Services and school staff prior to arranging a conference with the parents.

 

5. Meet with the parents to review the requirements in the Service Dog Administrative Procedure and discuss the administrative procedure requirements and the potential transition of the Service Dog into the school setting.

 

6. Conduct a meeting with the parents/guardians, classroom teacher(s), and appropriate Special Education and support staff to review the provision of a Service Dog, and to develop a plan to determine:

 

  • 6.i the purpose and function of the Service Dog; these must be directly related to Individual Pupil Programming goals

 

  • 6.ii who will accompany and handle the Service Dog outside;

 

  • 6.iii personal care and physical needs of the Service Dog;

 

  • 6.iv the safest and most environmentally sound place for the Service Dog to relieve itself,

 

  • 6.v removal and disposal of animal waste,

 

  • 6.vi provision of a suitable container for waste that the dog handler can access, and

 

 considerations for seasonal changes, and inclement weather;

 

  • 6.vii classroom considerations such as seating arrangements and changes to class placements;

 

  • 6.viii any necessary changes in routine and procedures, and program changes;

 

  • 6.ix arrangements for the Service Dog to visit the school without students present in order to familiarize it with the school site;

 

  • 6.x a transition plan for the Service Dog and the student;

 

  • 6.xi a timetable for the introduction of the Service Dog to the school and classroom(s) and for the training of the student’s school team

 

  • 6.xii rules of conduct around the Service Dog for students, staff, and the public, and

 

  • 6.xii methods of disseminating and regulating such rules.

 

7. Communicate in writing to members of the school community that a working Service Dog will be entering the school setting to elicit information regarding possible issues such as allergies or phobias from students, staff members and parents/guardians. This communication will be sent early in the process to determine any alternate arrangements that may be necessary to reasonably accommodate students or staff members. Provide an opportunity for feedback to be conveyed and considered by all stakeholders including: transportation department, custodian, and Parent Advisory Council.

 

8. Consult extensively with support staff, custodians, school staff, the school council and the school community prior to the service dog arriving at school. During the consultation process with the broader school community, the anonymity of the student and the family will be protected.

 

9. Liaise with stakeholders to resolve specific concerns or issues that may arise regarding the presence of a Service Dog in the school.

 

C. IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES AND TRANSITION PLAN

 

The Principal, Parent/Guardian(s), Teacher and other staff members as required will work collaboratively to create a transition plan to assist in the integration of the Service Dog into the school environment. This transition plan will:

 

1. Provide for the Service Dog to visit the school without students present in order to familiarize it with the school site.

 

2. Establish who will accompany and handle the Service Dog with the student.

 

3. Establish considerations and protocols for seasonal changes and inclement weather.

 

4. Establish the safest and most environmentally sound place for the Service Dog to relieve itself and who will be responsible for removal and disposal of animal waste.

 

5. Determine parent/guardians or a staff member who will be responsible for the provision of a suitable container for the animal’s waste.

 

6. Ensure that the Parent/Guardian is informed that the provision of a certified Service Dog and any objects/care it requires is the financial responsibility of the parent/Guardian or adult student.

 

7. Arrange for the Parent Dog Handler to train and instruct the support staff and teacher on the proper procedure regarding the Service Dog (example: specific commands, skills etc.). Establish an alternative dog handler for instances when the dog handler is absent.

 

8. Establish any necessary changes to routine, procedures, or programming need to made prior to the Service Dog’s entry.

 

9. Establish rules of conduct around the Service Dog for students, staff, and the public.

 

10. Revise emergency procedures as required to include the Service Dog, such as fire drills, evacuations, lock-downs, and notification of the fire department regarding the existence of the Service Dog.

 

11. Notify the Transportation department as required to advise drivers and any students who may be sharing transportation where the Service Dog will be present.

 

12. Arrange for an assembly or meeting of all students in the school, to provide education, awareness and information about the Service Dog and it’s role prior to the Service Dog’s arrival. Once the Service Dog has arrived, arrange for a “Welcome Assembly” to introduce the Service Dog to the school community.

 

13. Arrange for signage alerting school visitors to the Service Dog’s presence must be placed in a visible location on the doors of the school.

 

14. Ensure that the Service Dog and related goals are incorporated into the IPP of the student as appropriate.

 

 

Administrative Procedure 213.1 – Appendix A

SAMPLE LETTER TO THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY

 

(SCHOOL LETTERHEAD)

 

Date

 

Dear Parent / Guardian:

 

I am writing to advise that there will be a Service Dog arriving in our school to assist one of our students.

 

This Service Dog is a highly trained companion and is able to assist in many of the daily school routines and activities which may pose challenges for this student. Service Dogs are comparable to Guide Service Dogs and are included in aspects of the student’s life at home and at school. The child’s right to have a Service Dog is protected under Alberta Human Rights legislation and the Service Dogs Act, and implementation is defined by Wild Rose School Division policy.

 

There will be information sessions for all school staff and students to ensure a smooth integration of the Service Dog into our daily routines. All of our students and staff will be instructed as to the proper procedure regarding interactions with this dog as it is a working Service Dog and not a pet while at school. The provision of a Service Dog will be a significant benefit to the student, and we look forward to a lot of growth and learning together.

 

Thank you for your understanding, support, and interest. Should you have any questions please review the Wild Rose Public School’s Service Dog Administrative Procedure online at www.wrsd.ca or contact me directly.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Principal

cc: Superintendent, Classroom Teacher, SSF

 

 

Administrative Procedure – Appendix B

SAMPLE LETTER TO THE FAMILIES OF CHILDREN IN THE CLASS(ES)

 

(SCHOOL LETTERHEAD)

 

Date

 

Dear Parent / Guardian:

 

I am writing to advise that there will be a Service Dog coming into our school to assist one of our students, and that this student and the Service Dog will be a part of your child’s class. This Service Dog is a highly trained companion and is able to assist in many of the routine activities which may pose some challenges for this student. Service Dogs are comparable to a Guide Service Dog and are included in every aspect of the student’s life. The child’s right to have a Service Dog is protected under Alberta Human Rights legislation and the Service Dogs Act. Implementation is defined by Wild Rose Division policy.

 

There will be information sessions to integrate the Service Dog into the classroom and school routines, and all of our students will be instructed as to the proper procedure around the Service Dog. They will be informed that the Service Dog is a working Service Dog and not a pet while at school.

 

If you have any questions or specific concerns regarding the presence of the Service Dog in your child’s class, please review the Wild Rose Public School’s Service Dog Administrative Procedure online at www.wrsdca or contact me directly.

 

Thank you for your understanding, support, and interest.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Principal

 

cc: Superintendent, SSF, Classroom Teacher, 

References

Legislative References:

 

School Act Section  45, 47, 124

Policy 1.6.2 Special Education

Standards for Special Education

 

Board Policy:

 

Policy 11 Delegation

Policy 13 Appeals Regarding Student Matters

 

Cross Reference:

 

AP 380 Appeals Concerning Student Matters