ALEJANDRO v. PALM BEACH STATE COLLEGE
In March 2011, Kyra Alejandro, a student at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach, Florida, filed suit against the College to enforce her right to take her psychiatric service dog on campus.The dog is trained to help her avoid panic attacks. The College refused her request for a reasonable modification of its “animal control” policy.
The College filed disciplinary charges when she brought her dog on campus. Sometimes, security officers escorted her and her dog off campus.
Ms. Alejandro provided the College with sufficient documentation to support her request, including the opinion of a mental health professional and information about her dog’s training. In response, the College made inappropriate inquiries into the nature and causes of her mental illness.
Regulations to Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act that expressly authorize the use of psychiatric service animals went into effect in March 2011. Among other things, Ms. Alejandro’s case presented an opportunity to shape courts’ understanding of the regulations.
A U.S. District Court Judge entered an order in Ms. Alejandro’s favor in November 2011 and Ms. Alejandro secured a favorable settlement in February 2012.