A Supreme Court Victory for a Girl and Her Dog

Ehlena Fry was told she couldn't bring her service dog Wonder to school
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2017 5:24 PM CST
A Supreme Court Victory for a Girl and Her Dog
In this Oct. 31, 2016 photo, Ehlena Fry sits with her service dog Wonder while speaking to reporters outside the Supreme Court.   (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

Eight years after little Ehlena Fry was told she couldn't bring her dog Wonder to school with her, the Supreme Court has given her family some measure of vindication. In an 8-0 ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court instructed a lower court to reconsider its ruling against Ehlena and Wonder, the Detroit Free Press reports. According to Reuters, Ehlena, now 13, was born with cerebral palsy. Her pediatrician had said to keep Wonder with her at all times. The goldendoodle helped her turn on lights, open doors, go to the bathroom, and more. But her Michigan school said Ehlena couldn't bring Wonder to class, arguing that a human aide could help her with those tasks. The family moved Ehlena to a new school district and sued the old district in 2012.

Ehlena's old school district argued—and an appeals court agreed in 2015—that her family needed to go through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act administrative process before it sued under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Supreme Court ruled that may not be the case, as Ehlena's family appears to be taking issue with access to the school, not her education, USA Today reports. The appeals court has now been instructed to look at whether Ehlena and her family could make the same complaints if the school was some other kind of public facility and if Ehlena was an adult instead of a student. As for Wonder, he's now 10 years old and retired as a service dog. (Read more service dog stories.)

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