Teacher's allergy, Ohio girl's service dog at odds
ATHENS, Ohio — The mother of an autistic first-grader in Ohio who uses a service dog is challenging a decision that the girl must change schools because her special-education teacher is allergic to dog dander.
Charla Gretz said a school official told her on the first day of school this week that her daughter, 6-year-old Shyanna, and her black Labrador retriever, Spring, could not attend Morrison-Gordon Elementary School in southeast Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
The official told her that the special-education teacher at the school is extremely allergic to dog dander and Shyanna must transfer, according to Gretz.
Shyanna gets overwhelmed by sensory issues and does not cope well with change, Gretz said. Her dog is trained to calm her and to walk on an attached tether so the girl cannot wander. Gretz said changing schools would disturb her daughter.
But accommodations made for Shyanna and her dog must be balanced against the allergic teacher's rights, said Carl Martin, superintendent of the Athens City School District. Moving Shyanna to a different school is a reasonable solution, he said.
Gretz also said the bus ride to a different school would be about double the ride to Morrison-Gordon.
“She does not do well with buses,” Gretz said. Martin disputed her claim about the lengthened route, saying Shyanna would not spend significantly more time on the bus because the schools are only five miles apart.
There is a legal obligation to accommodate both the student and the teacher, said Sara Clark, an attorney with the Ohio School Boards Association. Clark said the issue of service dogs and classroom allergies has surfaced nationally, but she wasn't aware of any other cases in Ohio.
Gretz plans to take her case to the school board that oversees the 2,800-student district southeast of Columbus. But for now, she plans to keep her daughter at their home in The Plains and use online courses for instruction.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- State police probe trooper’s arrest at Pittsburgh wedding
- Unions warn of problems with referrals outside Veterans Affairs system
- Newsmaker: Master Sgt. Edward Altmeyer
- University, Pittsburgh officials inspect student housing in Oakland
- Close vote expected on posting restaurant grades in Allegheny County
- Nearly 1 in 10 has had identity stolen, RMU poll finds
- Trac Fabrication all-terrain wheelchairs open world for disabled