COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - The mother of an autistic Collier County boy faced off with the school district on Tuesday. She wants her six-year-old son JC to be allowed to bring his dog, Pepsi, to school.
Elizabeth Lasanta says JC suffers from seizures and that Pepsi can help.
"JC leans on Pepsi, JC knows there are certain things he can and cannot do," said Lasanta.
Lasanta testified before a judge saying JC needs Pepsi at school. But, the attorney for the district says otherwise.
"The teachers and all the staff can assist him with academic emotional and other needs there is really no need to have the dog there," said John Fishbane, attorney for the Collier County School District.
The judge also heard from two witnesses for the district, both are psychologists. They say JC is better off without the dog because it forces him be more independent. JC's mother disagrees saying JC is independent because of Pepsi.
"A service dog is a 24/hr thing and breaking apart you're basically telling me pick something else, that's not gonna work for us," said Lasanta.
The judge is expected to decide if JC can bring Pepsi to school in the next few months. If he rules against JC and his mother, she says she'll keep on fighting.
"We started the fight we're gonna finish it," said Lasanta.
Nearly four thousand people have already signed an online petition supporting JC and Pepsi. You can view the petition at http://animals.change.org/petitions/view/tell_collier_county_schools_to_allow_service_dog_in_classroom