COLUMBIA, Ill. (CN) – A state appeals court said an autistic boy may take his specially trained dog to school. The ruling denied a request by the Columbia School District to suppress a preliminary order that required the school district to accommodate the boy and his dog by Sept. 14.
The ruling from the 5th District Appellate Court clears the way for the 5-year-old boy and his year-old Bouvier named Corbin to attend class on Monday.
The boy’s parents, Chris and Melissa Kalbfleisch, say the dog soothes the boy, who has had significantly fewer tantrums, thanks to Corbin, which makes it possible for the boy to interact with the outside world.
The school district argued that other children could not tolerate the dog and that Corbin was not part of the boy’s Individual Education Plan. Therefore, the district argued, it need not allow the dog in class as part of its obligation to provide the boy with an appropriate education.
Monroe County Circuit Judge Dennis Doyle ordered the school to accommodate the dog by Sept. 14. The school appealed.
Judge Doyle’s order is good only until a trial on the matter is held. A trial date has not been set as of press time.