Ill. boy can bring service dog to school

Nov. 11, 2009 at 1:22 PM
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TUSCOLA, Ill., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A judge in Douglas County, Ill., said a 6-year-old boy may continue to bring his autism service dog to school with him.

Circuit Judge Chris Freese ruled the Villa Grove school district must allow Kaleb Drew to attend fall classes with his service dog, Chewey, The (Champaign, Ill.) News-Gazette said Wednesday.

Tuesday's ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by Drew's parents, Nichelle and Bradley Drew, in an attempt to force the school district to allow the Labrador retriever to attend school with their son.

"We are very pleased the judge's ruling was constitutional with the Illinois school code's provisions regarding service dogs in school," attorney Margie Wakelin, who represents the couple, said. "Chewey fits the definition of a service animal and must be permitted in the school. Judge Freese said this wasn't a close call."

School district attorney Brandon Wright told the News-Gazette that Freese did recognize the dog could pose accommodation issues for school officials.

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