Horizon School Division is committed to the delivery of high quality educational programs, supports and services that allow students with diverse needs to maximize their learning and achievement. The Division recognizes the diverse needs of some students may require unique accommodation(s). These accommodations, linked to the student’s Inclusion and Intervention Plan, may include the use of Service Dogs in situations where as a result of a physical disability, a student is physically reliant on a service animal, including but not limited to conditions such as blindness or low vision, deafness or hearing impairment, diabetes, seizure disorder, or autism spectrum disorder.
Horizon School Division is also committed to ensuring it operates within the legal mandate of all legislation in meeting the needs of its students. This includes The Education Act, 1995 and The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.
“Service Dog” means a dog that has been trained and certified by a program accredited by Assistance Dogs International to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.
1. A request for a Service Dog to accompany a student must be initiated in writing, to the Principal. The parents/legal guardians of the student will attend a case conference meeting with the Principal in connection with this request.
2. The Request for Service Dog application must be completed, including documentation supporting the student’s requirement for the Service Dog and the appropriate documentation of Service Dog training and proof of certification by Assistance Dogs International. Documentation supporting the student’s requirement for the Service Dog shall include a letter from a physician confirming that the student's need for the use of a Service Dog in school is essential and directly related to the learning needs of the student.
3. The parents/legal guardians of the student must cooperate with the School Division and provide appropriate information about the student’s educational restrictions and define the benefit of a Service Dog to the student in the school environment when requested by the School Division. The School Division reserves the right to assess and determine if other accommodations would address the restrictions of the student during school hours.
4. Before approving the presence of a Service Dog in the school the Principal shall, with the support of the Supervisor of Student Services and the Superintendent of Student Services, make enquiries as to whether or not the introduction of the Service Dog into the school will affect the medical restrictions of other students in the school.
5. If the presence of a Service Dog is approved by the Principal and the Superintendent of Student Services, then the following shall apply:
5.1. If other students and/or staff with medical restrictions will be affected by the presence of the Service Dog:
5.1.1. The Principal shall determine how the accommodations of all students and staff can best be achieved;
5.1.2. The parents/legal guardians of the student requesting the Service Dog will cooperate with the school to minimize any possible effects of the presence of the Service Dog on the medical restrictions of other students; and
5.1.3. The Principal shall make best efforts to accommodate all students in consideration of all students’ learning needs.
5.2. The parent/legal guardian requesting the presence of a Service Dog must:
5.2.1. Accept all liability that might be incurred as a result of the behaviour of the Service Dog while present at a school or any other location that the Service Dog and student attend in connection with the student’s education provided by the School Division, and in connection with the foregoing, indemnify the School Division in writing;
5.2.2. Obtain and provide proof of appropriate insurance coverage, specifically third party liability coverage of not less than $2,000,000, naming and stating the School Division’s interest therein, for any damages and/or injuries caused by the Service Dog or any damages and/or injuries caused to the Service Dog, and shall provide proof of such coverage annually, prior to the commencement of the school year;
5.2.3. Arrange for the provision of any required training of school personnel regarding the proper use and care of the Service Dog in the school, and pay for such training;
5.2.4. Participate in a review of the presence of the Service Dog at the school annually and at any other time as requested by the School Division;
5.2.5. Provide information in writing from the service agency who trained the Service Dog indicating details around the personal care and physical needs of the Service Dog, including the safest and most environmentally sound place for the dog to relieve itself, the safe removal and disposal of dog waste, and considerations for seasonal changes and inclement weather;
5.2.6. Provide up-to-date proof of vaccinations, and licensing of the Service Dog annually;
5.2.7. Indicate who will accompany and handle the Service Dog both inside and outside the school and what arrangements have been made with regard to alternate handlers when necessary;
5.2.8. Make arrangements for the Service Dog to visit the school to familiarize it with the school site, and indicate how and when initial and ongoing training will be provided for staff interacting with the Service Dog;
5.2.9. Allow School Division staff and volunteers to touch, feed, or otherwise deal with the Service Dog in any way that may be required to ensure appropriate care of the Service Dog and student, and to ensure the safety of all students and staff;
5.2.10. Maintain financial responsibility for the Service Dog's training, veterinary care, municipal and other required licensing and other care and ownership-related costs;
5.2.11. Provide the required equipment and dog care items, including but not limited to food, water, a leash and/or harness, and bags appropriate for the collection of dog waste;
5.2.12. Arrange for the provision of routine “bio-breaks” for the Service Dog and a plan for the removal and disposal of animal waste in a safe and environmentally friendly manner; and
5.2.13. Assist the Principal in communicating information relevant to the Service Dog’s presence to the school community, including information regarding appropriate interaction with the Service Dog.
6. The School Division may impose reasonable conditions or restrictions, including but not limited to:
6.1. Transportation of the Service Dog to and from school and school-related activities;
6.2. Restricting the presence of the Service Dog to specific areas in the school; and
6.3. Exclusion from access to specific areas where required by other laws.
7. The Service Dog should be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times unless these devices interfere with the work or task the Service Dog performs, or the student’s disability prevents use of these devices. In those instances, control must be maintained over the Service Dog through voice, signal or other means.
7.1. The School Division retains the right to restrict or eliminate use of the Service Dog in the school on a temporary or permanent basis if the student or handler is not in control of the behavior of the Service Dog, or in the event that the Service Dog is involved in an incident causing injury or property damage, or which reasonably could have resulted in injury or property damage. This includes but is not limited to an incident in which the Service Dog exhibits any aggression behaviours, such as growling, scratching, nipping, or biting.
7.2. The agreement to accommodate a Service Dog will be reviewed annually and may be modified as required following the same process set out in this Administrative Procedure.
7.3. If the student moves to a different school, the request for a Service Dog must be resubmitted and initiated prior to the student’s commencement at the school, at the new site, with the Principal.
7.4. The agreement to accommodate a Service Dog may be terminated by the School Division if the Service Dog does not have up to date accreditation, licensing, or vaccinations.
7.5. The application, insurance and all other documentation provided in connection with this Administrative Procedure will be retained on file at the student’s school.
8. The Principal will initiate the annual reviews and ensure receipt of necessary documentation.
Reference: Section 109, 141, 142, 145, 146, 175, 178, The Education Act, 1995
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code
January 9, 2017