7-Year-Old Boy Battles School District over Service Dog

Austin Flateau and Paris the dog

Austin Flateau suffers from seizures that have thus far prevented him from attending the first grade – but it’s not for the reason you may think.

Austin, 7, has a brain malformation and a host of problems that result from it. However, as of two weeks ago, he also has Paris, a service dog whose list of talents includes smelling the chemical changes that would signal an oncoming seizure and then warning Austin’s mother, Ericha.

For now, however, the Franklin, Massachusetts, school district has decreed that while Paris can accompany Austin to school, district staff members cannot act as the dog’s handler. That leaves the Flateau family with two tough choices: Keep Austin home or find money to fund the necessary dog handler position. “I cannot afford to hire a third-party dog handler, and I also can’t afford not to go to work myself,” explained Ericha on a Sunday appearance on Fox News.

So far, the district declined to comment on specific student matters, but noted that it nonetheless supports educational access to people with disabilities. Ericha, meanwhile, expressed that she hoped a compromise could be reached and Paris would be able to help Austin attend school.

Viva Paris and Austin, wish them all the best!

h/t: People


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