Service Animals for Students, Employees and Guests

Adopted          3-11-20

Privately owned animals are only permitted on school premises with written consent from the principal or superintendent or designee except as specified by this policy.


The following definitions apply in this policy:

  1. Service AnimalA dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the person’s disability and do not include providing emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship.
    28 CFR § 35.104
  2. Disability Disability is defined or determined according to the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”), together with implementing regulations.
  3. Direct threatA significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.
    28 CFR § 35.104
  4. Emotional support animalA dog that is individually necessary for the emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship of an individual with a disability. The tasks performed by the dog must be directly related to the individual's disability.

General Standards Regarding Animals Serving Individuals with Disabilities 

The South Sanpete School District is committed to providing equal access for individuals with disabilities to its programs, services, and activities, including access for service animals assisting those individuals, as required by applicable laws and regulations. While the District may establish safety requirements as needed for safe operation of its services, programs, or activities, it recognizes that such requirements must be based on actual risks and may not be based on speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about people with disabilities. 

Service Animal

The use of service animals by individuals with disabilities shall be allowed on all portions of school premises where the individual would be permitted as a member of the public, an employee, or student, as applicable, subject to the following:

  1. The individual may be required to remove the animal from the premises if:
    1. The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; or
    2. The animal is not properly housebroken.
  2. The school is not responsible for the care or supervision of the animal.The handler will assume responsibility for hygiene and waste removal of the Service Animal. 
  3. The animal must be under the handler’s control. This means a harness, leash, tether, voice control, signals, or other effective means of control.
  4. Except in circumstances where the animal’s training and function is immediately apparent, the school may ask (1) if the animal is required because of a disability and (2) what work or task the animal is trained to perform. The school may not ask about the nature or extent of the individual’s disability.
  5. The school shall not impose any fee or charge regarding service animals’ presence on school premises.However, in instances where individuals may be charged for damage to school property, charges may be made for damage to school property caused by service animals.
  6. If the building principal recommends excluding, limiting or removing a student’s service animal for other reasons not mentioned in this policy, including but not limited to student allergies, the principal shall convene a meeting of the IEP team.At this meeting the team will discuss the reason(s) that may require the exclusion, placing of limitations or removal of the service animal and what alternative methods or actions may resolve the problem(s) presented by the service animal.
    28 CFR § 35.136
    Utah Code § 62A-5b-104(3) (2019)
    Utah Code § 62A-5b-104(3) (2019)

Guests with a Service Animal

Guests of the School District attending school functions and events shall be allowed to be accompanied by their service animals.  A guest may be asked to remove his/her service animal if the animal is not under the control and the guest does not take effective action to control it or if the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  In these situations, the guest should be given the opportunity to attend the school function/event without the service animal present. 

Emotional Support Animal

The use of an emotional support animal (or “comfort animal”) is considered a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or Section 504. Such a request must be supported by recent, reliable, objective medical documentation. In addition, documentation may be required to address legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safe operation of the school’s programs, services, or activities. Only domesticated animals (Service Dogs) will be considered as emotional support animals. The use of emotional support animals on school premises is also subject to the requirements and standards relating to service animals outlined above except for the limitation on inquiries.

Evaluation Prior to Denial

To the extent possible, before denying access to an animal asserted to be a service animal, or emotional support animal, District staff shall consult with the District Risk Coordinator and the Risk Coordinator shall consult with State Risk Management and as needed with District legal counsel. If consultation is not possible, District staff shall make the access determination based on this policy and shall thereafter consult.

Questions about the application of this policy to specific circumstances or requests requiring special consideration should be directed to the District Risk Coordinator, District personnel responsible for compliance with law relating to individuals with disabilities, and as needed to District legal counsel.


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