Massachusetts school balks at allowing first-grader's service dog

A little boy in Massachusetts who has a brain malformation that causes seizures has been unable to attend the first grade because his school district won’t accommodate his need for a service dog.

Ericha Flateau, the boy's mother, says the dog has been trained to alert others to 7-year-old Austin’s seizures before they occur. For that reason, she said, Paris, a golden retriever, needs to be by Austin’s side “24/7.”

“For whatever reason, the school district will not allow any school staff to be the dog handler,” Flateau told "Fox & Friends" Sunday.

“I cannot afford to hire a third-party dog handler, and I also can’t afford not to go to work myself,” she said. “So [Paris] has been home with him since we returned from training.”

Paris became Austin’s life-saving partner in October after Flateau raised $15,000 to pay for the dog’s training. The dog also has been trained to help Austin calm down when he tries to speak and becomes frustrated. Besides causing seizures, Austin’s condition affects his speech.

Austin attends the Davis Thayer Elementary School in Franklin.

“The school has said, ‘OK she can come but we’re not going to have any responsibility for her,” Flateau told WCVB-TV Thursday.

The Franklin School District told "Fox & Friends" in a statement that it “fully provides and promotes access for all individuals with disabilities, including those that require that assistance of service animals.”

Flateau told WCVB she and the district can work out an arrangement. If not, she and Austin may have to move to another town.