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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 129492
Experience:  Attorney handling education matters.
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The school is in Lehighton, PA and it is a public school.

Customer Question

JA: Where is the school located? And is it a public or private institution?
Customer: The school is in Lehighton, PA and it is a public school.
JA: Have you spoken to a local attorney or school administrator? What is your ideal outcome for this situation?
Customer: Kind of... I am looking for equitable treatment.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: This concerns a certified therapy dog and a "last chance contract."
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

What is your specific question about this issue?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Almost 2 years ago I had a letter/"last chance contract" put in my file because I took my certified therapy dog to drama club rehearsals at night due to the long days. No one ever complained and the cast actually liked her being there. She had a crate in which she spent most of her time. There were never any problems. Another teacher started to bring his untrained dog to school and it nipped a student. After that incident I was told I could no longer bring my dog to rehearsals and my job was threatened. This last chance contract is supposedly in place for the rest of my career! Now I find out that a dog is being permitted as part of the play (I no longer direct). Should I approach the new principal? Does this put me at risk if I make a fuss about me not being permitted to have brought my certified and insured therapy dog but an untrained dog is being permitted?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately, PA law is more restrictive than other state laws and it protects only guide or service dogs not emotional support dogs. The statute, § 7325. Discrimination on account of guide, signal or service dog or other aid animal, states in pertinent part:

A person is guilty of a summary offense if he, being the proprietor, manager or employee of a theatre, hotel, restaurant or other place of public accommodation, entertainment or amusement, refuses, withholds or denies any person, who is using a guide, signal or service dog or other aid animal that has been certified by a recognized authority to assist a person, because of the physical disability, blindness or deafness of the user,...

So, if your dog is not does not fall under that law, you would have a problem with the employer.

However, them allowing a dog as part of a play does not equate to you being told you could not bring your dog on a regular basis I am afraid.

If your dog falls under the above ordinance, then you can file a discrimination complaint against the school and pursue them for discrimination, but until PA law catches up with other state laws regarding support/therapy dogs and includes them, you really do not have a strong legal basis to push the employer.

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Customer: replied 8 months ago.
it would not be discriminatory if one dog is not being allowed in the school building after hours but others dogs are being allowed?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

There is discrimination and there is "unlawful discrimination" and you can take legal action only on unlawful discrimination. This is not unlawful discrimination under PA law and also, there is a different purpose for this dog being allowed on campus, so it is not the same as your situation.