Ehlena Fry's elementary school refused to let the girl, who has cerebral palsy, bring her service dog to class

By Kelli Bender
February 24, 2017 01:26 PM
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Supreme Court Service Dog
Credit: Molly Riley/AP

Justice is going to the dogs!

According to The Huffington Post, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 on Wednesday in favor of a 13-year-old, disabled girl from Michigan who was fighting for the right to bring her service dog to class.

Ehlena Fry has cerebral palsy, which severely limits her mobility. Her service dog Wonder is a loyal companion and important balancing aid for the girl, who needs support while she walks. The goldendoodle also helps Fry pick up objects, turn lights on and off and takes care of other tasks that can be a struggle for Fry.

Fry’s battle to the Supreme Court started in 2009, when her elementary school in Napoleon, Michigan, banned her from attending with Wonder, saying that her one-on-one human aide covered her special education needs. While Fry’s family eventually moved to another school which was happy to welcome the service dog, they decided to file suit against the original school for discrimination in 2012, citing the violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which permits service dogs in all public institutions.

The American Civil Liberties Union represented the family, and is pleased with the Supreme Court’s unanimous outcome. The group believes this decision will encourage other disabled students to seek justice when they are discriminated against, especially in schools.

“I saw with my own eyes how Wonder helped my daughter grow more self-reliant and confident,” Stacy Fry, Ehlena’s mother, said in a statement. “We are thankful that the Supreme Court has clarified that schools cannot treat children with disabilities differently or stand in the way of their desired independence.”