Sean Forsyth, is 8 years old and attend 2nd grade at Wexford Elementary School in Pittsburg. He is not like other children his age though. He has been diagnosed with Autism. To help him cope in the world and become more independent he has a service dog that was specially trained to deal with his special needs. According to his mother she says she asked the Pine Richland School District last fall to allow Sean’s service dog Sophia to accompany him to school. That request was denied by the school district.
District spokesman Tony DiTommaso says school officials determined there is no educational need for the dog because the boy is making progress without the dog in school. And they therefore see no need for the dog to be in school with the child.
Sean used to have meltdowns that lasted two or three hours. Now because of the dog, they last 15 minutes. He has been making major improvements both at home and at school since Sophia came to live with the family. She has stopped him from bolting out the door or into traffic and she can sense when Sean’s mood changes and try and stop the negative behavior before it even starts.
Sophia is a specially trained Service Dog that goes to continuing education classes each week. She is fully up to date with her vaccinations and has been trained to be around large groups of people. Sean’s parents believe that if Sophia is allowed to go to school that Sean will progress even more and continue to make progress in school. Under the American’s with Disabilities Act there should not even be a question as to whether Sophia can accompany Sean to school every day. Which is why his parents have appealed the school board decision and hope before the end of the year to have Sophia in school with their son.