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Policy: 8432

USE OF SERVICE ANIMALS

The New Hanover County Board of Education (Board) adheres to the Americans with Disabilities
Act and state laws permitting the use of service animals by individuals with disabilities. The use
of service animals on New Hanover County School Systems (NHCS) property and at NHCS
functions will be governed by this Policy and procedures developed by the Superintendent or
designee.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN SERVICE ANIMAL AND COMFORT ANIMAL

“Service animal” means any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or
perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory,
psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or
domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's
disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are
blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard
of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work,
pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence
of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and
assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons
with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive
behaviors.

The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-
being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.
Therefore, pets, comfort animals, and emotional support animals are not service animals
and persons are not entitled to bring them onto School District Property or to School
District Functions. Non-service animals may be allowed in the discretion of the building
administrator with the prior approval of the Superintendent or designee.

A miniature horse may qualify as a service animal under this Policy if:

• The miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the
benefit of the individual with a disability,
• The facility can accommodate the miniature horse given its type, size, and weight,
• The handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse,
• The miniature horse is housebroken,
• The miniature horse's presence in a specific facility will not compromise legitimate safety
requirements that are necessary for safe operation; and
• Proof of required vaccinations is provided.

New Hanover County Schools, Wilmington, North Carolina 2 of 2


Policy: 8432

USE OF SERVICE ANIMALS BY INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

The Superintendent or designee shall develop procedures for access by service animals. Such
procedures shall be available at each school, each School District building, and on the School
District’s website.

To the fullest extent allowed by law, the person using the service animal, or such person’s
parent/legal guardian if they are a minor, and the handler of the service animal, shall be liable for
any injuries and property damage caused by the service animal. Except as required by law, the
New Hanover County Board of Education, its Board Members, employees and agents shall not
be liable for any injuries or property damages arising out of the presence or use of a service
animal.

All costs related to the handling and care of the service animal are the responsibility of the
individual who uses the service animal, or the animal’s handler, if different. The School District is
not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.

LEGAL REFS: Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101; 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

CROSS REFS: Use of Service Animals Procedure

Adopted: 09/18/12
Revised: 11/05/19

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