Judge Rules Against Service Dog in School

Family had sued to compel school to allow hearing-impaired teen’s service dog in classes.

Posted: February 28, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

A hearing-impaired teenager in New York fighting for the right to have his service dog accompany him to classes at a high school has been dealt a legal setback by a federal judge.

On Feb. 27, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur D. Spatt ruled that 14-year-old John Cave, Jr., of Long Island, is not allowed to bring his service dog, Simba, to classes at W. Tresper Clarke High School in East Meadow.

The boy and his parents brought a lawsuit after the East Meadow School District would not allow the ninth grader to bring Simba to class. The lawsuit says the dog is less effective if not with the teenager all day.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court said the school district's decision is keeping the teen from attending school and violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. The lawsuit also sought $150 million in damages.

Spatt said he issued the ruling in part because the family didn’t follow the school district’s appeals process, and instead opted to sue.

School district officials have said the boy doesn’t need the dog to access school resources. In the past, the district has provided Cave with a sign-language interpreter, a note-taker and other assistance while in class.


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Kris, KC (retired signal dog) and Chara   Waynesboro, VA

11/12/2009 6:35:35 PM

This makes me angry, I too am hearing impaired and rely solely on my hearing-signal dog. Plus, doesn't this judge realize he broke the law by stating that this child doesn't need his dog! According to the ADA and HIPPA, the child and his parents do not need to even "PROVE" that this child's impairment requires a dog. My old girl KC and I have been thrown out of public events in the past as well. The difference was that I went to the press and the Department of Justice and this policer officer that was in the wrong, lost his job. Thankfully, we settled out of court. But, how ignorant of this judge. I hate to say though, the parents and the child will win this case, even if it goes to a federal level. Boy, I hate seeing this all over again.

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Annmarie   Milford, MA

11/11/2009 5:25:08 AM

This judge needs to have a family member with a service dog. I would say just read the federal laws again. I am going through a similar circumstance and I am an employee, not a student in a school. It is not my principal's doing either as he is a a dog lover himself and sees no wrong in this dog being my hearing dog and dog for diabetes. Good luck to all of us with helper dogs.

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Reverend Claudia   Dearborn Heights, MI

1/28/2009 4:50:37 AM

That has got to be the dumbest reason I ever heard of to deny the boy his service dog. This judge needs help!

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Jessica   Tiffin, OH

2/28/2007 4:27:11 PM

I find it disturbing that the judge just because he disagreed with the way the family handled the case ruled against them their should have never been a case the ada give the dog the right to go everywhere with his partner that is that their should not be any arguing over it the boy has the right and the need to be with his dog

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