Schools required to accommodate people with disabilities

"M.T." is a student at Reitz High School in Evansville, Indiana who has severe diabetes that sometimes causes potentially life-threatening changes in her blood sugar. Layla is her service dog and alerts M.T. when her blood sugar spikes or dips dramatically.

"R.J." attends a different Evansville school but also relies on her service dog, Diesel. The Harrison High School student has a rare mitochondrial disorder that causes seizures and prevents her from supporting her own weight without pain and discomfort. Diesel is trained to assist R.J. with mobility and balance, and to keep her safe if a seizure occurs.

Both service dogs keep their owners from critical risk of injury and even death, yet the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation won't permit the service animals to come to school without a burdensome amount of documentation provided two weeks in advance.

The Americans with Disability Act requires schools and other public entities to accommodate people with disabilities.

The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of these two students in attempt to halt the unreasonable school policies. The students and their families did not even learn of the paperwork requirements until the first day of school. Both students suffered significant harm and distress by not being able to attend school with their animal helpers.

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