Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Supreme Court Decision About Service Animals

Screenshot of Supreme Court decision

In the case of Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, the Supreme Court of the United States has announced a unanimous decision that if a school discriminates against a student for using a guide dog or service animal, the parents should be able to go straight to court to enforce the student's rights under ADA and 504.  It is not necessary to exhaust all the administrative procedures that must be satisfied under IDEA. 

The case involved a Michigan school district's refusal to allow Wonder, a trained service dog, to go to school with a student who was born with cerebral palsy and who required mobility support.  This was the catalyst for the Supreme Court argument in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools.   The student's parents' lawsuit argued that the school district violated federal civil rights laws when they barred Wonder from the child's school. The technical question the justices addressed was whether the Fry family must exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act before pursuing their suit for damages under other federal disabilities laws. 

Read the full opinion or syllabus.