GOLDEN GATE, Fla. - A Golden Gate mom is fighting the Collier School District so her autistic son can bring his service dog to school.
Six-year-old JC Bowen's service dog can be something of a lifeline, according to his mom. Not only does the dog carry his medication, but he has an important roll in keeping Bowen safe during a seizure.
"If he's standing up he can fall, he can hurt himself, and if somebody's not paying attention it can be potentially very damaging," Bowen's mother Elizabeth Lasanta explains.
Pepsi, their service dog, has specific commands to keep little JC on the ground during a seizure, which his mom says teachers may not even notice he's having.
"His absent seizures aren't seen, you can't see them. It's kind of just like he's daydreaming."
Lasanta has been fighting for more than a year to let JC bring his dog to Estates Elementary, but after several meetings she says they've been denied.
Now, Lasanta is taking her case to an Administrative Law Judge to make the final decision for something she says is her son's right.
WINK News tried to get the school district's stance on this case, however it was too late in the day to get a response. In the past, the district has denied service dogs in school for certain cases.
The hearing starts Tuesday and is expected to take two days. A decision may come as soon as this week.