High School bans Epilepctic Student's Service Dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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High School bans Epilepctic Student's Service Dog

Click to read the full article - Leander ISD bans epileptic student's service dog | kvue.com | KVUE News | Austin, TX | Breaking News

Excerpts below, emphasis mine.

Quote:
When Cody is about to have a seizure Polly will bark and alert him. During a seizure, Polly licks his face and jumps on his chest until he comes out of it.

“…And you think that dog just saved my kid's life,” McCowen said.

Cody took the dog to school with him his junior year. Polly helped. Cody's seizures became a minute shorter.

Then last April, Polly snapped at a student. A month later, Polly scratched another student. Those incidents caused the school to ban her from returning for Cody's senior year.

McCowen has since filed a civil rights complaint and is threatening legal action. She says both incidents were the school's fault. She says an aide is supposed to be with the two at all times.

"They left him and Polly without any supervision,” said McCowen.

The scratching she says was Polly doing her job.

"[Service dogs] are going to do what they have to do to get to him,” she said.
I would like to head why the mother believes that the dog snapping at one and scratching another student is "the school's fault" or how/why the presence of the one-on-one aide would have prevented this situation?

I would also head from SD users whether they feel it's reasonable for a Service Dog to snap at or scratch another person to "get to" their handler? (More importantly, how far from the handler is the dog that getting to the handler is an issue requiring biting/scratching other people?)

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by AbbyK9 View Post
I would also head from SD users whether they feel it's reasonable for a Service Dog to snap at or scratch another person to "get to" their handler?
NO. Absolutely not. What if the child was dying, and the dog prevented Drs from saving his life? Snapping at a person or scratching someone is definitely NOT acceptable behavior. I think the school had every right to say the dog couldn't return.

But I'm still somewhat on the fence myself about service dogs in schools (highschool or below that is.) I don't feel they should be unless the kid is able to fully control the dog... If an extra aid for the dog alone is necessary, I don't feel the school should have to provide it. Note I said for the dog alone. If there is already an aid appointed to the child, then that situation would be different... But then again I'm on the fence, because not everyone knows how to handle a dog. When a SD is acquired from an organization, the handler goes through specific training before being able to return home and be on their own with the dog.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 02:11 AM
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I don't think the school is in the wrong. Any other dog that snapped at a person in public (especially students in a school) would probably be labeled aggressive, and I don't feel a SD should be treated any different, no matter the circumstances. So I think the dog should be banned from the school.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Konotashi View Post
I don't think the school is in the wrong. Any other dog that snapped at a person in public (especially students in a school) would probably be labeled aggressive, and I don't feel a SD should be treated any different, no matter the circumstances. So I think the dog should be banned from the school.
If there is supposedly an aide with the student then why is the dog needed?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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I think the article and video are not very informative regarding what the dog actually does and what all its trained tasks are. I understand the dog barks when a seizure comes on and licks the child's face during the seizure. If I understand correctly, the alert itself is not considered a trained task, so there would need to be additional tasks, such as fetching medication.

I also found it worrying that, in the video, the mom seems to be using food to get the dog to lick the boy's face for the camera. Shouldn't a dog that is trained to lick the handler's face during a seizure NOT be instructed to lick the handler's face at other times? You'd think if you encourage licking all the time (with or without food), then using it as a seizure response would become "watered down" and the dog may be licking at random times instead of only in response to a seizure?

I don't know. From what I've read (snapping / scratching) and what I've seen in the video, I am not sure that this dog is well / properly trained to do its job or has the proper temperament to do the work needed?

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 01:31 PM
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Maybe we don't know the whole story yet, but this sounds like a bad example of use of a service dog. Cases like this make it harder for kids like the one in this thread https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...e-dog-gsd.html to gain appropriate access. So now the kid's parents are threatening legal action, and they will likely be followed by parents of the kids who were injured by the dog.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 02:01 PM
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I would like to also point out that his mother states that since he has been going to school without the dog he has had grand mal seizures that have caused him to stop breathing. How does not having the dog change or worsen the type of seizures he is having? The report states he is not responsive to medication, so early warning would not get him meds sooner. Although it might allow him to lie down or get into a safer position.
I am not doubting that the parents want to provide their child with the best care and want to allow them to experience the same childhood as other kids, but as the school stated they are responsible for the safety and education of many students and not just one. It will be interesting to see if there is more to this story.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I would like to also point out that his mother states that since he has been going to school without the dog he has had grand mal seizures that have caused him to stop breathing. How does not having the dog change or worsen the type of seizures he is having?
Maybe the argument is that it is more stressful for him to go to school without the dog and that the increased stress is causing an increase in seizures? Maybe the dog acts more like an ESA (relieving stress, calming the child) than a Service Dog in the way it is being used and trained?

I would love to have more information on this case. Particularly, I'd like to know where the mother "bought" the dog (as the article says) and what, if any, organization it was trained by and what tasks it is actually trained to do on command or in response to the child's medical condition.

I'd also like to know what the function of the aide is that the child has at school - is the aide there to control and direct the dog or help the child? Are there any functions the dog does that the aide does not do? Etc.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 04:23 PM
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Way too many questions left unanswered from this article, imo -- seems that there is a lot more to the situation/storey than has been presented. Based on what information has been presented, though, I find no fault with the school's decision.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Here's another article on the same from a different news station.

School Expels Life-Saving Service Dog

Quote:
"These dogs are actually doing a job and doing a service and if they are actually doing that and there is no safety concern that dog is welcome because it is a tool that is helping us stay focused on student learning," Veronica Sopher, Executive Director of Community Relations for Leander Independent School District, said.


Polly went to work at Leander High detecting at least 30 potentially life-threatening seizures during the fall of 2010.


On two dozen other occasions when staff members assigned to Cody detected a seizure, Polly responded with restorative face licking. That's important, says Cody's Mom, for one very critical medical reason.


"When you are having a seizure, you can't start CPR. Polly can still lick him in the face until he starts breathing," McCowen said.
I don't think this makes a whole lot of sense from a medical point of view.

First, when a person is not breathing, you start rescue breathing - meaning you open the airway and administer air. While this is a part of CPR, rescue breathing and CPR are not the same thing. You do not do CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) unless someone has no heartbeat. If someone is not breathing but does have a heartbeat, you do rescue breathing, not CPR.

The dog licking the boy's face does not administer air to the boy in any way. That's like saying, if someone is not breathing and you throw cold water over them, they will start breathing again. No, they won't. If they're not breathing, they need to be supplied with oxygen until they start breathing again on their own or you will end up doing CPR because that heart is going to stop. A dog licking your face does not administer oxygen.

Quote:
Leander ISD’s perception of Polly began changing by Spring 2010. According to incident reports obtained by FOX 26 News:
  • Polly snapped at a student who suddenly ran toward Cody in PE class, bruising the classmate's thigh.
  • Polly scratched another student in the abdomen a month later.
Neither contact drew blood. In both cases, aides assigned to work with Cody and Polly, were reportedly out of position.

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