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Appeals Court Says Dog Can Go to School

COLUMBIA, Ill. (CN) - The parents of an autistic boy won another round in a court battle against the Columbia school district, demanding that their 5-year-old son be allowed to bring his service dog to school.

A panel of the Illinois 5th District Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a circuit judge's ruling that Corbin, a 1-year-old Bouvier, be allowed in school pending a full hearing.

Chris and Melissa Kalbfleisch say Corbin soothes their 5-year-old son. They say the boy has significantly fewer tantrums with the dog by his side, which makes it possible for him to interact with the outside world.

The school district claimed that other children could not tolerate the dog and that the dog is not part of the boy's Individual Education Plan. It claims that the dog is not necessary to the district's providing an appropriate education for the autistic boy, as required by law.

The school district is paying for the boy and Corbin to attend the Illinois Center for Autism in Fairview Heights.

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