“My son reported to his local school, as required, to take the FSA this morning. He is autistic and has an IEP and a service dog. I am a certified dog handler because he is too young to handle the dog alone. We had arranged months ago through IEP meetings, supplying all paperwork, ID, records, that the dog would report with him for any testing, both with the school district and the FLVA where he is a student.
“Soon after we arrived, I was asked to leave the private testing room, which I cannot legally do as the dog handler. A service dog must be under the control of its handler at all times. I explained the laws. The proctor left the room to call the administrators. While we waited, I texted my son’s dad that there was some hold up with me handling the dog. He was dropping our daughter at school nearby, so he came over.
“He, the vice principal and the proctor returned to the room, where my son and his dog were quietly sitting and waiting with me. They said I could not stay in the room with my son and his dog. They said I could wait outside the door and peek through a window. But again, I have to hold the dog’s leash as I am the handler responsible for him while he works for my son. I told them to just let him minimally participate then, sign the booklet and break the seal.
“They told me this would invalidate his test, to which I agreed. But once again, they would not let him do that with his dog and me in the room, and he was getting visibly upset because they were making me leave the room with his dog. He started crying, babbling loudly and hitting himself in the face. I had to get down on my knees in front of him, face to face, put my hands on his shoulders and tell him that I would be right outside the door with his dog, he would sign his name and we could leave… hoping he would calm down. But then, they decided that me being outside the door with the dog (that his IEP says should be with him) would violate his IEP, so we could not do that either.
“We left without being allowed to take the test, or even minimally participate. I hope they work this out by tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, when we are required to report for more testing. At this point, all we want is for him to minimally participate as required by law, with his service dog and handler present, as required by federal law, and school district policy.”