Family Chooses Home-Schooling After Service Dog Denial
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 29, 2006
SCITUATE, MASSACHUSETTS--A family has decided to home-school their 8-year-old daughter rather than deal with a school district that has been resistant to her service dog.
Hailey Manduca has osteogenesis imperfecta, which is more commonly known as 'brittle-bone disease'. She has had several surgeries because of dozens of broken bones.
For the past year, Hailey has had Independence, a yellow Labrador-golden retriever mix, to help her keep her balance.
But this summer, Scituate school officials told Hailey's parents, Richard and Cheryl, that the dog would not be welcomed back. They claimed that the dog behaved badly when it visited the school last year, and even required a muzzle to keep from frightening the students.
The Manduca family disagreed, saying the dog has been everywhere with Hailey and has never caused any problems. Earlier this month, they filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to force the school to let the dog come with Hailey to school.
State and federal laws require schools to allow service dogs to accompany students -- except when the dog is disruptive or dangerous.
On Tuesday, the Patriot Ledger reported that the Manducas had decided instead to start a home-school curriculum for Hailey. The family plans to keep her involved in her church and Girl Scouts, and to link up with other families that also home-school.
Mrs. Manduca told the newspaper that a home-schooling schedule would probably be best because Hailey won't have to miss her studies as much when she has to go to doctor's appointments and surgeries.
"Home-schooling I think will be the safest -- best for Hailey," she said.
"No Independence: School rejects girls service dog" (Patriot Ledger)
"Dog Debate Over: Scituate family to home-school child after schools balk at service dog" (Patriot Ledger)