Boy denied having service dog at school

Letter from Broward County Public Schools district says service animal needs liability insurance

Author: Bob Norman, Reporter, bnorman@Local10.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:24:23 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 19 2013 10:45:31 PM EDT
SUNRISE, Fla. -

A woman said Friday that the Broward County Public Schools district won't allow her 5-year-old son to bring his service dog with him when he begins kindergarten at Nob Hill Elementary in Sunrise on Monday.

"He don't want to go to the school [without the dog]," said Monica Alboniga, whose son Anthony suffers from cerebral palsy.

Alboniga showed Local 10 a letter from the Broward County School Board that said they needed liability insurance for Anthony's service dog, Stevie. The doctor-recommended canine alerts people to the boy's frequent seizures.

"He need the dog. He need the dog with the school with him," she said.

Matt Dietz, a leading attorney on the Americans with Disabilities Act, said the school board is breaking the law.

"There's no reason why his service animal shouldn't be allowed to be in school with him, just like any other place, whether it's a courthouse, whether it's a shopping mall, whether it's a playground," he said. "They should be welcoming this as a way to increase [the] knowledge and understanding of kids that have disabilities."

Dietz said the family could make a legal challenge. Alboniga said her son will go to school Monday with or without his dog.

According to a spokeswoman for Broward County Public Schools district, insurance isn't required for a service animal to be approved. However, the service animal must: