Anthony Marshante and His Service Dog Stevie Start School at Nob Hill Elementary

Stevie, a terrier mix, seemed pretty calm about his first day at school as Anthony Marshante's service dog.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A boy, his service dog and his mom were welcomed with open arms at Nob Hill Elementary School in Sunrise despite some initial uncertainty. Monica Alboniga spoke about her 5-year-old son Anthony Marshante's first day at school with his terrier mix, Stevie. (Published Monday, Aug 19, 2013)

    A boy, his service dog and his mom were welcomed with open arms at Nob Hill Elementary School in Sunrise despite some initial uncertainty.

    Stevie, a terrier mix, seemed pretty calm about his first day at school as Anthony Marshante's service dog. The 5-year-old has cerebral palsy. His mother Monica Alboniga wasn't sure what to expect.

    "I'm nervous and happy," said Alboniga.

    Last week the Broward County School Board sent the family a letter stating Stevie would not be allowed in school without a certificate of current liability coverage. The letter told that her that she needed insurance for the dog, Alboniga said.

    But Anthony was subsequently cleared to take Stevie with him to school.

    In response to an inquiry by NBC 6 the school board spokesperson Nadine Drew wrote: "I have confirmed with the district's legal department that insurance is not a requirement in the approval of a service animal."

    Stevie can sense when Anthony's having a seizure and has been trained to warn his mother at home and his teacher at school.

    So on Monday they all went in together, along with Stevie's trainer and her service dog.

    "All the people are 'Welcome Anthony, Welcome to Stevie,'" said Alboniga. "I explain Papi do you look it's a new teacher, new friend. Do you know? Do you play and learn at the school and you stay with Steve, don't worry."

    Anthony's mom will stay on as the handler in the classroom at least for the next couple of weeks.

    When school was done Alboniga showed off the good student sticker on Anthony's hand. She was tearful as she described the first day of school as a success, much better than she expected.