by Todd Spangler
Originally published: July 11, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court said late last month that it will consider the case of a 12-year-old Jackson, Mich., girl with cerebral palsy and a goldendoodle named Wonder, deciding whether Ehlena Fry’s family can sue for damages from a school district that balked at the service dog’s presence in the classroom.
Stacy and Brent Fry brought the case against Napoleon Community Schools and the Jackson County Intermediate School District in 2012 under the Americans with Disabilities Act, arguing that school officials — who initially prohibited Ehlena from bringing Wonder to school — denied her equal access to programs and ultimately the chance to interact with other students at Ezra Eby Elementary.
“This case could once and for all remove unfair legal hurdles for victims of discrimination across the country that prevent them from seeking justice guaranteed by the ADA,” said Michael Steinberg, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, which brought the suit with the Frys. “To force a child to choose between her independence and education is not only illegal, it is heartless.”