School Committee Policy 9.7.12 Revision

School Committee Policy 9.7.12 Service Animals Revision
Posted on 12/02/2022

The Quincy School Committee will vote on the following revision of Policy 9.7.12 at the December 7, 2022 Regular Meeting. Please submit comments about the proposed policy revision to School Committee Clerk Laura Owens at: [email protected]


The Quincy Public Schools does not permit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those who require the assistance of a service animal. The Quincy Public Schools will comply with Massachusetts law concerning the rights of persons with guide or assistance dogs and with federal law and will permit such animals on school premises and on school transportation.

The Quincy Public Schools acknowledges its responsibility to permit students and/or adults with disabilities to be accompanied by a “service animal” in its  buildings, in classrooms, and at school functions, as required by the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its implementing regulations found at 28 CFR Part 35.

For purposes of this policy, a “service animal includes any dog that has been individually trained to do the work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability”. The regulations further state that “a public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with the disability”. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that individuals with disabilities cannot perform themselves.  Service animals are not pets.

No animal shall be brought to school without prior permission of the Superintendent. 

1.                The animal must be “required” by the individual with a disability.

The animal must be “individually trained” to do work or a task for the individual with a disability.  The task performed by the service animal must address one of the following needs for the disabled individual: physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual and other mental disability.

2.                For students on an IEP or 504 plan, if a request is made to allow the student to have a service animal at school or at a school-sponsored function, the IEP or 504 Team will consider the request, and whether it can provide services and/or accommodations that would serve the stated purpose of the service animal.  If the Team determines that it can meet the student’s needs and proposes alternative accommodations and/or services, then the request for the service animal will not be added to the IEP or 504 Plan.

3.                The Quincy Public Schools is responsible for providing a safe learning environment for students, teacher and staff.  If the presence of a service animal poses a health or safety risk to another member of the school community, as documented by a physician, the school will weigh the needs of all parties and will put forth a plan to provide reasonable accommodations. 

4.                Only a dog or a miniature horse may qualify as a service animal pursuant to Title II of the ADA. No other species of animal, whether wild or domestic, will be permitted in schools as a “service animal”.

5.                Owners of a service animal must provide annual proof that the animal is up to date on all of its required vaccinations.

6.                All service animals must be spayed or neutered.

7.                All service animals must be treated for, and kept free of, fleas and ticks.

8.                All service animals must be kept clean and groomed to avoid shedding and dander.

9.                A service animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control.

10.             Owners of service animals are liable for any harm or injury caused by the animal to other students, staff, visitors, and/or property.  The student’s parent or legal guardian will be required to sign an acknowledgement of that liability prior to the service animal coming to the school or to the school sponsor’s activity.

11.             Removal of a Service Animal: A school administrator may ask an individual with a disability or his parents to remove a service animal from a school building, a classroom, or from a school function if any one of the following circumstances occurs:


a.      The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it.

b.      The animal is not housebroken.

c.      The animal’s presence would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the service, program, or activity.

12.             The Quincy Public Schools is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal, including walking the animal or responding to the animal’s need to relieve itself.

a.      The school district is not responsible for providing a staff member to walk the service animal or to provide any other care or assistance to the animal.

b.      Students with service animals are expected to care and supervise their animal. In the case of a young child or a student with disabilities who is unable to care for or supervise his service animal, the parent is responsible for providing care and supervision of the animal. Issues related to the care and supervision of service animals will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in the discretion of the building administrator.

The Superintendent of the Quincy Public Schools or designee shall be responsible for developing procedures to accommodate a student’s use of an assistance animal in school facilities and on school transportation vehicles.


Reference:        ADA Regulations, 28 CFR Part 35 (as amended, 2010)