Some people may remember the story of the 5 year old Columbia, Il boy who had a service dog prescribed for him by his doctor, and had to fight a court battle in order to have the right to take the dog to his school. The Kalbfleisch family won a court order to have the dog allowed to accompany their son to school, after spending about $50,000 on attorney's fees fighting the school district, and another $10,000 for training the dog, which was trained by Wilderwood Service Dogs of Tennessee.
The school district, which originally was willing to let Carter Kalbfleisch attend his home school, suddenly decided that the dog was not welcome. So the school quickly called an IEP meeting, passed an IEP without the dog being necessary mentioned in it, and insisted that placement be in a special autism specific school, rather than Carter's home school. The Carter's are going along with this placement for now, in order to get their son into school. But they are continuing to fight to get him placed back in their home school.
"I think it’s important for him to be in his own community with his local peers for him to look up to," said Kalbfleisch. "It’s very important for autistic kids for their communication skills and, later on in life, to get them interacting with people and into the real world."
It never ceases to amaze me the lengths (and expense!) that a school district will go to in order to fight a parent. When someone in the school district decides that they don't want someone in their school, they seem to have no qualms about spending obscene amounts of the taxpayer's money to fight individuals. In this case, the Kalbfleisch's have spent $50,000 so far. Further appeals will certainly take at least $10-$20K more. If the family has spent that much, the school district has spent at least the same (and probably more, as they often put multiple lawyers against the single one that the family provides). The special school that they are sending Carter to costs about $24K more than his usual school/year. So figuring conservatively, the school district has been willing to spend $85,000-$95,000 this year alone just to keep one service dog out of a classroom, with an additional $24,000 every year to keep him out.
It looks like a friend is going to be facing a similar fight against a school district, which has decided that it'll keep making the environment worse in order to force a child out of the family's preferred placement (their home school), in order to place him where he can be warehoused. Please drop by Kristina's temporary digs and lend a little moral support.
I've never met anyone quite so doggedly persistent as Kristina, and I know that she'll give this district a run for their money.