A new friend is now walking our hallways. Sophomore Emma Moise has brought in a service dog. This is the first ever service dog in Miami-Dade County Public Schools so the process to bring the dog into the system was difficult. First, a student needs an IEP or a 504 plan. The American Disabilities Act requires schools to make reasonable modifications to accommodate students’ needs. Service animals are trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, such as removing individuals from an anxiety-inducing situation. Pets are not service animals, they have to perform a task and they must be trained. Things to remember and rules that must be followed when around a service dog include:
- Remember that the animal is working.
- Don’t touch the animal without permission.
- Do not be offended if the handler refuses to let you touch the animal.
- Do not distract the animal.
- Do not give the animal food.
- Do not ask personal questions about the handler of the animal.