Supreme Court Ruled On Service Dog In The Classroom Case


Dog with a vest and a badge that reads

Last week the Supreme Court announced its ruling on the case of Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, a case that involved allowing a service dog into the classroom.

In 2012 the Fry family sued the Napoleon Community Schools in Michigan because the school did not allow their daughter Ehlena to bring her service dog, Wonder, to class. Ehlena suffered from cerebral palsy, a condition that limits her motor skills, and Wonder was trained to assist her with a variety of tasks related to her mobility and independence.

After the Frys lost at the lower courts, the Supreme Court now opens the opportunity for them to go back to the courts and ask for a financial compensation for the emotional distress their daughter went through when she was denied the help of her service dog.

At the center of this case was a conflict over which regulation should have been considered to guarantee Ehlena's rights. The different regulations are:

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) enacted to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by public entities
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance

Learn more about Ehlena's case at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) site. The ACLU represented the Frys in the case.

The Frys are not the only parents fighting for the right of their child with disabilities to bring a service animal to school. This ruling will give other parents an additional tool to fight for their children's rights.