Breaking: Oral Argument at Supreme Court; Exhaustion For Special Education Cases #scotus #supreme court

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Fry v Napoleon Community Schools, Docket No. 15-497. Our previous posts on this case are available here and here. Here are the highlights from the oral argument:

The questions asked by Justices Kennedy and Bryer showed that they are concerned about the problem of defeating the exhaustion requirement by careful drafting. Justice Bryer told the attorney for the school district that the problem in ruling against him is not so much this case (where the parties agree that there has been no IDEA violation), but in other cases where artful pleadings could force judges to decide IEP issues without the preliminary negotiations and oth (Read more...)

Ten Things To Know Before Going Back To School and Other Fun Facts #back to school

The Disability Connection newsletter for August has a list of ten things to know before going back to school. The list includes such relevant topics as:  bullying, test anxiety, service dogs and a number of other useful items- each filled with links to helpful resources. Here, for example, is number two concerning IDEA and §504:


  1. IDEA and Section 504. Some of the most important special education services are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. IDEA ensures that school-age children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. It also provides for&n (Read more...)

Breaking: Supreme Court To Hear Special Ed Case #SupremeCourt #ServiceDog #Exhaustion

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fry v Napoleon Community Schools, #15-497.  It is a service dog case. Unfortunately, however, the issue before the court has very little to do with service dogs and the rights of kids with disabilities to have service dogs in school. Instead the issue is the more legalistic one of exhaustion of administrative remedies. 

The parent brought the case under §504 and ADA. The District Court dismissed the complaint because the parents had not exhausted administrative remedies by first having an IDEA hearing. The Sixth Circuit affirmed by a 2-1 vote.  After requesting a brief from the Solicitor General, the Supremes granted (Read more...)

The Other Supreme Court Case: Service Dogs, Exhaustion and IDEA #ServiceDog #exhaustion

Last week we discussed the pending supreme court case involving the standard for FAPE and the question of meaningful vs some educational benefit. You can read the post here.

There is one other special ed case pending before the Supremes. Fry v Napoleon Community Schs No. 15-497.  It is a service dog case, an issue mentioned many times in this blog. (the dog is named "Wonder.") Unfortunately, however, the issue before the court has very little to do with service dogs and the rights of kids with disabilities to have service dogs in school. Instead the issue is the more legalistic one of exhaustion of administrative remedies. 

The parent brought the case under §504 and ADA. The District (Read more...)

First Grader in Ohio with Service Dog Required to Transfer Schools

Suzi service dog snow 065
Suzi service dog snow 065 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)















Last week a first grader with Autism was required to change schools by school district authorities in Ohio because she had a service dog.  The special education teacher assigned to her classroom had a severe allergy to dogs. My money is on the probability of  a lawsuit!

Here is a news article about the matter from the Columbus Dispatch.

Service Dogs remain a hot topic in Special Education Law.  I have a special fondness for these amazing dogs and we have featured them on these pages many times.  Here are some other posts we have done on this topic:

New Hot Button Issue: Service Dogs


New Hot Button Issue: Service Dogs - The Ap (Read more...)

Service Dog Wins Lawsuit; Illinois Court Rules

A court in Douglas County, Illinois has ruled that Kaleb Drew, a first grader with autism can have his service dog attend classes with him. The final injunction was issued by the trial court last week. Here is the news story from radio station WGIL. …

A court in Douglas County, Illinois has ruled that Kaleb Drew, a first grader with autism can have his service dog attend classes with him. The final injunction was issued by the trial court last week. Here is the news story from radio station WGIL. Thanks to alert Facebook special education law group member Julie Kelley for the heads up.

Service dogImage via Wikipedia


This should not be confused with the case in the Illinois appellate court. There the circuit court of Monroe county, Illinois issued an injunction permitting Carter Kalbfliesch to have his service dog with him in class. The appellate court affirmed. Here is a news story by Metro East News.

remember my prediction: service dogs are becoming a hot button issue in special education law. Please continue to keep me posted on these news items.





Service Dogs Part IX- Illinois A. G. Weighs In

We have discussed the Illinois service dog case previously in this blog. I am fascinated by these types of cases and I believe that they are a hot button issue in current special education law. For example here is a link to a recent service dog case …


We have discussed the Illinois service dog case previously in this blog. I am fascinated by these types of cases and I believe that they are a hot button issue in current special education law. For example here is a link to a recent service dog case from New York state recently reported in the Adjunct Law Prof Blog. (Thanks to Professor Mitchell Rubinstein for the article and the heads up.)

The Monroe County Illinois Circuit (1st level) Judge granted the parents of 5 year old Carter Kalbfeisch, who has autism, an injunction requiring the school district to permit him to bring his service dog with him to school. The school district has appealed the decision claiming that other children are allergic to dogs.

The newest development in this case is that Illinois Attorney General has weighed in on the issue. The AG has filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the parents. She argues that the outcome of the appellate decision could affect other students with disabilities who use service animals.

Illinois Attorney GeneralImage by ©hicagoenergy via Flickr


Here is a news article from the Mt. Vernon Register- News.

Please keep me posted if you know of other service dog cases around the country. Thanks for all your support.


New Hot Button Issue- Service Dogs Part II Other Recent Caselaw

Some of you think that I am preoccupied with service dogs, but I believe that this is a coming trend in special education law. Other posts in this series have described a recent Illinois case involving an injunction requiring a service dog be permitte…

Some of you think that I am preoccupied with service dogs, but I believe that this is a coming trend in special education law. Other posts in this series have described a recent Illinois case involving an injunction requiring a service dog be permitted in school and the district's appeal.

A review of recent caselaw shows a pattern of other activity. For example, Hughes ex rel DWH v. District Sch Bd of Collier County 51 IDELR 130 (M.D. Fla 9/22/8) Magistrate recommended that parent claim re denial of FAPE because of failure to provide student with a service dog be permitted to proceed. Contrast, Bakersfield City Sch Dist 51 IDELR 142 (SEA Calif 10/22/8) HO upheld IEP that failed to include a service dog as a related service where student did not need the dog to receive FAPE and where dog would be more restrictive than aide offered in IEP.

resting service dogImage by faster panda kill kill via Flickr



Also I forgot about this case because it turns on the exhaustion of administrative remedies. So thanks to Mitch for reminding me. In
Cave ex rel Cave v. East Meadow Union free Sch Dist 514 F.3d 240, 49 IDELR 92 (2d Cir. 1/23/8) the Second Circuit rejected parents 504/ADA claims to add a service dog to student’s IEP because of failure to exhaust by first requesting a due process hearing.

By the way, I'm having some trouble with citations in the blog lately. I had a fancy add on to my browser that provides links to citations automatically, but it messes up this platform. If I haven't yet fixed it, please email me if you need a citation that gets botcher in the blogosphere.

In the meantime, please let me know if you hear of other cases involving service dogs. The tail wags the caselaw?




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New Hot Button Issue: Service Dogs – The Appeal

A recent post concerned an Illinois Judge’s ruling enjoining a school district to permit a service dog for a child with autism. The school district has appealed that decision. A news article can be read here.There seem to be a number of people who di…

A recent post concerned an Illinois Judge's ruling enjoining a school district to permit a service dog for a child with autism. The school district has appealed that decision. A news article can be read here.

There seem to be a number of people who distinguish between service dogs and dogs who merely help kids with disabilities cope or feel better. There has also been a number of comments and emails concerning differences between the Americans with Disabilities Act and various state laws. Also some school district personnel and concerned about students with allergies.

What do you think? Under what circumstances should a service dog be permitted to accompany a child with a disability to school?


New Hot Button Issue: Service Dogs

There are a growing number of cases involving service dogs. I have seen a few cases in the last couple years. An interesting example occurred last week. A school district in Illinois apparently refused to let a five year old boy with autism bring hi…



There are a growing number of cases involving service dogs. I have seen a few cases in the last couple years. An interesting example occurred last week. A school district in Illinois apparently refused to let a five year old boy with autism bring his service dog to school. The boy's parents filed a court action, and last Thursday the Judge entered an injunction against the school district. Like many states, Illinois by law permits service dogs in any public building. The Judge ordered the district to permit the service dog to accompany the boy to school. Some of the links in this paragraph will lead to the local news articles.

Service Dogs of Hawaii Fi-Do, Training Session...Image by BL1961 via Flickr


I think that many people are not aware of service dogs other than those who work for the visually impaired. I was at a conference a few years ago, and I learned a lot about service dogs. They really do a lot for many people with disabilities. Here is a great short video showing a service dog in action.

Are any of you aware of other legal actions involving service dogs? I believe that this is another area of special education law that is about to see some serious activity.


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