New York High School Rejects Deaf Student's Service Dog Again Despite State Ruling

A public high school has turned away a deaf student's service dog despite a state ruling saying the animal should be allowed.

W. Tresper Clarke High School's principal intercepted 15-year-old John Cave outside the Westbury school's entrance Tuesday, a day after the state Human Rights Division told the school to let in the dog. Commissioner Kumiki Gibson wrote that state law "prohibits educational institutions from denying access to their facilities to people with disabilities."

Cave left and did not go to classes Tuesday.

East Meadow School District Superintendent Leon Campo said Tuesday the school would admit the dog if a court ordered it. For now, "we'll continue to make the arguments that we're not only acting in the best interest of John Cave ... but all the 8,000 students that we are responsible for," he said.

The Human Rights Commission has not sought a court order. Gibson has said the commission's directives are usually followed without a court's input.

Cave and his family say the teen, who uses cochlear implants, needs the service dog to help with his studies. School officials say they're concerned for other students' and staffers' health and safety.

The Caves turned to the state Division of Human Rights after their $150 million federal lawsuit against the school district was dismissed last year.