EVSC facing ACLU lawsuit over service dog policy

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation is facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana over their polices on service dogs.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the two EVSC students with disabilities. The lawsuit contends that the policies violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

One of the students involved in the lawsuit is a 16-year-old sophomore at Reitz High School who has severe diabetes that sometimes causes changes in blood sugar that can be life-threatening. Her service dog alerts when these dramatic changes occur. Another student, from Harrison High School, has a rare mitochondrial disorder that causes seizures and prevents her from supporting her own weight without pain and discomfort. Her service dog, is trained to support her with mobility and balance, and to keep her safe if a seizure occurs.

The ALCU says that rather than permitting the students to attend school with their service dogs, they say the EVSC has instead required that a significant amount of documentation be provided two full weeks before the animals may accompany the students to school. The ALCU says the students and their families did not even learn of these requirements until the first day of school.

"The Americans with Disabilities Act requires schools and other public entities to accommodate people with disabilities and specifically forbids the type of unique burdens that are being placed on the students here," said ACLU of Indiana Staff Attorney Gavin M. Rose.

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