Legal fees for taxpayers mount in Sherrard service dog dispute

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A local school district is headed to court again over a dispute involving a nine year old student and her service dog.

Colin and Brandi McGuire sued over concerns the way the Sherrard School District was treating their epileptic daughter Kelsey McGuire and her service dog Jasper, under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

The district lost the case in December after a State Board of Education hearing officer ruled in favor of the little girl and her parents, ruling the district showed "unreasonableness and indifference" in the case, and created a "hostile environment" for Kelsey and Jasper.

The District is now appealing the case, which the McGuires say is a big waste of time and money.

"It's a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, you're talking they've spent 100 thousand dollars so far, another 100 thousand dollars when this is all said and done? For what?" Brandi McGuire said in an interview with WQAD.

McGuire says she and her husband have spent $60,000 on their legal fees alone. She believes the district will have to pay those attorney fees when all is said and done.

She says the district is not in compliance of federal law and should fix the problem and be more transparent.

"They go into closed session. Their appeal is not in an open forum", she said.

District Superintendent Samuel Light did not return a phone call from WQAD for an interview request, but told local radio station, WRMJ ,that he believes the state hearing officer erred in his decision, and that the district did nothing wrong.

"They are attacking the integrity of the hearing officer is what they're doing. I'm not quite sure why he keeps saying they did not break the law. I don't know if he still doesn't  understand that not allowing a service animal is breaking the law," McGuire said.

5 comments

  • mad about it all

    1. They have not spent a dime. They have a organization who is backing and paying for them.

    2. They say it’s all for their daughter who they have sent to a private school without special education. How is that helping her again?

    3. The alleged teachers don’t even teach there anymore and have sense left the district.

    4. They bad mouth the district and all others in it and expect that it’s okay.

    5. Sherrard made one mist ake. Stop rehashing it over and over with just one side of the story

    I am not at all condoning what the district did, but they need to stop lying. Period.

  • Mary

    1. Can you prove this claim?
    2. According to them and the private school, this young girl seems to be thriving at her new school. Why would she need “special education” to attend a private school?
    3. They are suing the school district for not supporting them. The teacher in question has nothing to do with them not wanting their daughter in a toxic environment.
    4. They “bad mouth” the district? Yet the courts agreed in their favor that it was a hostile environment. If my child were subjected to this, you bet ya I’d be bad mouthing this district too!
    5. Yes, it was one mistake. One VERY BIG mistake. One ILLEGAL mistake. And they are still claiming their innocence. Until they admit guilt and take responsibility, this family SHOULD continue to seek support through any and all means…including media!

  • x

    “Not allowing a service dog is breaking the law.” This is true, UNLESS the dog can’t be controlled by its handler (e.g. barking, lunging at other dogs/people, biting, etc.) or unless the dog defecates or urinates in the facility. Jasper definitely was not under control by his young handler at school.

    • Kelly

      Jasper has an AWESOME handler just ask her teacher at Sherrard and all the employees at Sherrard and every single Jordan employee and everyone that has ever been an eye witness with them … your claims are simply not true. Read the decision http://www.justiceforjasper.com/decision and it shows that the 1 person/teacher who claimed such is a liar; deemed “Uncredible” … If you know of an eye witness that can claim otherwise I beg of you to let Sherrard know … cuz I’m sure if that was true they wouldn’t want them back?!?!?!

  • ccarmstrong

    I guess that’s the end of entities being allowed to eject service animals that aren’t properly trained and misbehave. When it comes to rights regarding service dogs, the only persons who have any are those with disabilities. No wonder so many business and restaurant owners avoid interaction with people with dogs.

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