One of the many things we pride ourselves on at Instant ESA is staying up to date with current events. This is why we are compelled to inform you about a recent change to a Montana school district’s policy.
We believe it is our responsibility to not only inform you on ESA/service animal-related current events but to also tell you our opinions as well.
Today, the Bozeman School District in Montana made headlines for updating its service animal policy.
More specifically, Montana state law has followed federal law, which states that schools must allow students with disabilities to either have a trained service dog or miniature horse.
The addition of miniature horses may raise eyebrows but the Bozeman School District maintains that the animals are study and able-bodied enough to help a disabled person with walking.
When it is not obvious what service the animal is providing to the student, the school is legally only permitted to ask two questions.
1) Is this animal required because of a disability?
2) What task has the animal been trained to complete?
The Bozeman School District currently has an “other animals” category. With regards to this, the Montana School Board Association recommends that the board decides to make its policy the same as federal and state law.
So where does this this leave emotional support animals?
*** Remember – There are differences between emotional support animals and service animals.
And the Bozeman School District’s policy reflects this.
Superintendent Bob Connors had this to say about the issue:
“There’s a process you have to go through to allow that to happen because of the training and everything else. That would be a whole different circumstance than federal law.”
As of right now, the Bozeman School District lets Special Education handle anything related to emotional support animals.
However, the district plans to revisit and decide on needed policy updates for emotional support animals by the end of the month.
As for what we think, we believe that because people are going to continue searching for natural alternatives to BIG PHARM, the demand for emotional support from animals will only continue to grow.