Service Animals in PreK-12 Schools: Legal and Policy Implications for School Leaders
Despite increasing animal prevalence in public spaces, few districts have proactively developed policies to integrate assistance, therapy, service, and emotional support animals that are both legally sound and support the needs of individual students. Federal legislation defines a variety of animals that could accompany students, but only those trained to perform a specific disability-related task are considered service animals. Policy development to address the increasing prevalence of service animals on school campuses has not been widely examined. This article uses standard legal analysis to gather data from court rulings in the United States; uses secondary sources such as peer-reviewed journals, special education journals, and professional organizations; and provides recommendations on how to develop a sound service animal policy and procedures.