Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BREAKING: Lake Washington School District improves and updates pet policy. Posting new signs on all district schools.

Outdated  LWSD
Pet Policy Notice
BREAKING: 10/4/2011, 7:51 AM   The District improves and updates their pet policy!  New signs are on order and will be posted at all district schools.  Click this link to read the entire policy and administrative action!

http://www.lwsd.org/About/Policies-Regulations/Admin-Policies/school-community-relations/Pages/Dogs-on-District-Property.aspx .


BACKGROUND:  Last year I wrote the opinion below, asking the District to update and improve their pet policy and install new signs.
The recent "A Tree Gets Nailed" story prompted me to edit and republish the opinion today.  I copied  the LWPTSA Council and Administration.  Serendipity!   B.Y.  10/4

REPUBLISHED OPINION, 6/18/2010.  In 2010 my daughter and a friend were walking their small dog on-leash, near the sidewalk on Horace Mann property.  The principal at the time saw the kids and told them to remove the dog.  She cited school policy that leashed dogs aren't allowed on school property when children are present even if school is out.  The kids were surprised because they had their dog leashed with poop bags - just like the school sign warns.  Clearly, the district's Pet Policy signage mis-informs and confuses our youth.

When my daughter was going to Horace Mann in 1997-2004, the principal allowed leashed dogs inside the school. I asked Deputy Superintendent Janene Fogard for a copy of the district Pet Policy.  Instead, she gave me an updated Mann policy.  She didn't quote the enforceable King County law or informal school policy.  Two years  later, after multiple requests, Fogard gave me the current, legal policy, as follows:     

#1- King County code numbers are stamped on the Pet Signs.  County code "legally and enforce ably prohibits dogs from being allowed to run unleashed on school grounds."

 #2- The District adds language: "dogs are also not allowed on school grounds during the hours when school children are present - leashed or unleashed."  This language isn't posted on the Pet signs; it's unenforceable by the city and county.  This is a problem.
Many signs are old &

City of Redmond and Kirkland Code stamped on the signs has since been repealed.  It can be removed, leaving space for "dogs forbidden when students present".   New signs could be phased into modernized schools and replace damaged ones to save money. This is a solution.

Unfortunately, parents, children and the public don't understand what the school policy is from these signs.  Students can be reprimanded and not know why.  School modernizations and remodels will need new signage.  Now is an excellent  time to phase in fair, accurate and clear pet policy signs.     

To see the entire pet policy read on.  Read More >>

The district emailed the following update to the 2005 Pet Policy, though the date on the document doesn't reflect the update.  It spells out the King County Code governing pets in schools and expands on the code to require "during non-student hours dogs must be leashed....."
The Puget Sound Risk Management Pool recommends that dogs not be brought to the schools. King County Code 11.04.230 (which applies to all jurisdictions in King County) prohibits dogs from being allowed to run unleashed on school grounds. The King County Code also requires that if a dog does bite a person, it must be reported to the King County Health Department and the animal be placed in quarantine for 10 days.

In order to ensure our schools are safe and comfortable for all inhabitants, the district has developed the following requirements regarding dogs in and on school grounds:

Dogs are not allowed in the school or classroom unless they are serving as a bonafide service dog to a staff member, parent, child or visitor. In such cases, an up to date vaccination record must be provided for the animal.

The decision to allow service dogs in training will be left up to each site administrator. However, they must also provide an up to date vaccination record.

Parents should be advised that dogs are not allowed in the school. Dogs are also not allowed on school grounds during the hours in which school children are present. [Comment:  This is not a county code requirement.  It's a district requirement and that probably can't be enforced].

King County Code requires that dog bites will be reported to the King County Health Department and the dog may be placed in quarantine for 10 days.

During non-student hours dogs must be leashed in accordance with King County Code 11.04.230.

There is another class of dogs, the registered therapy dog, for which a school may want to grant an exception. Therapy dogs are specially trained dogs that might be of assistance to schools in working with students with learning disabilities as well as emotional, developmental, behavior and traumatic / grief issues. In order for registered therapy dogs to be permitted in the classroom the following is required:

>> The school’s guidance team must approve the use of a registered therapy dog for a specific student or group of students.

>>The teacher in which the dog would be present must agree to the having the dog in her or his classroom. Should the teacher agree but later find the dog is not serving the overall best interest of the classroom, the teacher may require the dog be removed from the classroom.

>>Parents of the children with whom the therapy dog will be used must approve of the use and must sign a waiver of liability for the school district.

>>An up to date vaccination record must be provided for the animal.

>>The dog and handler must have completed a course of instruction for therapy dogs as approved by the Delta Society or other competent organization and must provide appropriate proof of liability insurance.

>>The dog will be removed from the school if a student or staff member in the classroom or school complains of allergies related to dogs. 
"Pets & Schools" Memorandum, By Scott Emry, 2005.  LWSD, Risk Management administrator
Opinion and Report by Bob Yoder, 6/17/11
Updated and Republished on 10/4/2011
CC:  LWSD and LWPTSA Council

Sources:  2005 Pet Policy related emails (2010 bl& 2011) from Janene Fogard and Kathryn Reith
My daughter and her friend, the signage, the Horace Mann Principal, City of Redmond Municipal Code.  KCC code.

Redmond Municipal Ordinance No. 7.04.200 was repealed by Ordinance 2536 which gives King County Ordinance 11.04.170-230 full jurisdiction over city animal control laws.  The Redmond code can be removed from new signs allowing room to add "dogs forbidden when school children present".


Anonymous said...

What does the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) have to say about service animals in schools and on school grounds? It seems like Federal law would take precedence over a county code or school district policy and service dogs should be allowed. The school district needs to consider this before it makes a policy prohibiting service and therapy animals.

Bob Yoder said...

I think you're right. If you "Read More" you'll see "The decision to allow service dogs in training will be left up to each site administrator. However, they must also provide an up to date vaccination record." So it looks like the district policy doesn't prohibit service dogs.

Good point, Anony. Anyone else want to say something?

Anonymous said...

Yeah. "Update yer damn signs!"

Kathryn Reith said...

The policy was updated in August - http://www.lwsd.org/About/Policies-Regulations/Admin-Policies/school-community-relations/Pages/Dogs-on-District-Property.aspx. New signs are on order and will be posted at all district schools.

Kathryn Reith
Communications Director, Lake Washington School District

Bob Yoder said...

GREAT NEWS - JUST IN! I just heard from Ms. Reith in the Administration. The District has listened and is changing their pet policy and pet signage.

The Administration announced today they are replacing ALL pet signs in the District (to correct outdated City code stamped on the signs) AND change school policy to allow leashed pets on campus after 4PM!

Ms. Reith, Communications Director says:

New signs are on order and will be posted at all district schools.


In order to manage the risks associated with the presence of dogs on district property, the following restrictions applies to dogs on school grounds and in buildings:

No dogs are allowed on district property between** 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on any school day, except for bona fide service dogs. No dogs are permitted in district athletic stadiums at any time, except for bona fide service dogs.

At all other times dogs must be leashed and controlled by owners. Owner must clean up after their dogs and remove waste from district premises.

Service Animals:
Service animals and guide dogs are allowed on district property in accordance with state law. The definition of a guide dog and service animal are found in RCW 49.60.040 (8) and (24). Read More (click link)

October 4, 2011 8:38 AM
Fear not! Enjoy your dogs!

Anonymous said...

Marvelous. Now my elementary school kids can have recess on grass covered in dog crap. Thank you dog owners!

Bob Yoder said...

Dear "Marvelous",
Under the old rules, dogs could be walked once the kids were off the grounds and on weekends. So, there was still plenty of opportunity to step on poop.