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Autistic boy must be allowed to take service dog to school, judge rules

June 14, 2011 |  4:00 pm

An Orange County elementary school must allow a 7-year-old boy who suffers from severe autism to bring his service dog to school, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Parents of the boy -- who doesn’t speak, frequently gets anxious and has pinched and scratched others -- sued the Cypress School District, claiming their son was being discriminated against for his disability when officials refused to allow him to bring his service dog.

The dog, Eddy, was trained for two years, beginning when he was 8 weeks old, to help the boy from wandering off and to detect his mood and intervene if he starts feeling anxious.

The school district had argued that Eddy does not qualify as a service dog under federal statutes, and that his presence could disrupt school activities and be burdensome for staff.

Judge Andrew Guilford granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the student, identified as C.C. in court papers, finding that keeping the boy and the dog apart during school hours could diminish their bond and disrupt their relationship.

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-- Victoria Kim

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