Fast forward to today when he has finally decided to make the move to attend college with his GI Bill. Such a brave move for him. When he sent an email to make an appointment to create his class plan and register, here was the University's reply:
Good morning Marco,
Thank you for your email. Before we meet, I wanted to ask you if you are requesting for accommodations to have your service dog with you in the classroom. My Campus Center Director is Yvonne Moduno and she wanted me to ask you this because this will conflict with our property management guidelines and Park University stance in regards to service animals in the classroom.
Please let me know and if you have any questions.
Cynthia Tafoya, Assistant Director
Veteran Affairs Certifying Official
First of all, she is the Veteran Affairs Certifying Official. Shouldn't she be a little less clue-less? Combat veterans are receiving service dogs for combat related issues and she should be aware of that outside of us educating her. It's part of her job. As well as understand ADA law. She called his dog a "Service Dog" in her response, yet explained he wasn't allowed. Let's all learn to write an email and follow ADA law! Secondly, I was directed to the head of disability accommodations in Missouri to resolve this matter, since "she understands ADA law better" than the two ladies mentioned in this letter. The head of disability accommodations also did not grasp how Echo was not a "therapy dog" and could not understand how he provides a "service." She also violated ADA, even while quoting it to me, by asking for paperwork, certification, or proof of some kind as well as "where we got him."
We are not even a year into this journey, and these are only a couple of the stories we have encountered. Here is the problem, every time someone confronts us about Echo, it triggers my veteran husband, and we tailspin for a day or two until he recovers. How is this helping?
Please learn your ADA law businesses. Your Veterans need you to be a good, supportive, educated community. They sacrificed a lot for you.
"Some people are surprised to learn there are no government officials paying surprise visits to employers, state and local government agencies or businesses to see if they are in compliance. So consider yourself a member of the "ADA enforcement team."