WEXFORD (KDKA) — The Pine-Richland School District is grappling the issue of whether a boy with autism should be allowed to bring his service dog to school with him.
The child, Sean Forsyth, is in the second grade at Wexford Elementary School.
While the district is looking for information before making a final decision, the boy’s parents say the answer should be yes.
The boy’s father, B.J., says the dog, a 20-month-old English lab named Sophia, was trained to keep the boy calm.
Sophia is a certified service dog, goes to training class once a week, is spayed and has received all of her shots.
Jennifer Forsyth, the boy’s mother, said Sean used to have meltdowns that lasted two or three hours. Now because of the dog, they last 15 minutes.
“She is able to alert,” she said. “The longer that she’s here, the more she’s been able to do that. She sees things before we do.”
Forsyth already gets special transportation to and from school and his parents say they are grateful.
Last month, the school district told Sean’s parents they didn’t think the dog was necessary in order for Sean to receive an appropriate education since he was making good academic, social and behavioral progress.
Since the boy’s parents made their request under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the school needs more information before a final determination.