Bill would allow service dogs on school buses
Current New Jersey law allows children with disabilities to have a service animal in school buildings and on school grounds, but there is nothing in the legislation that refers specifically to school buses.
Drivers of some school vehicles have refused to allow disabled students to bring their service dogs on the bus, but that could soon change.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic ), would force bus companies in the Garden State to permit service animals to ride on the buses with the children who need them.
"It was a common sense bill, it seemed like you wouldn't have to do that, but a lot of things fall through the cracks, and this will just make it a law," Mazzeo said. "There are some school buses that allow this, but this just puts it in law. To make it a law that they have to do it."
Mazzeo said service animals are important to students with various disabilities.
"A service dog is a very important part of these people's lives who are suffering with autism and problems like this, the dogs play an important part of their everyday actions and what they have to do.It's something that has to be put in place so they can function and function well," he said.
Mazzeo decided to sponsor the legislation after he was contacted by a family in his district who informed him that their daughter, who is autistic, was not allowed to board the school bus with her service animal.
The measure is scheduled for a vote by the full Assembly tomorrow, and it could become law in the coming weeks.