Do dogs belong in the classroom?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Do dogs belong in the classroom?
Thu, 02-06-2014 - 7:56am

That's a question that is being battled over between the parents of autistic children and school boards in Canada: 

Families that have seen their easily agitated, sometimes non-verbal children blossom into calmer, more communicative kids around highly trained service animals think so. Supported by lawyers and equal-rights activists, they are fighting for the dogs to be viewed as assistive devices, no less essential than hearing aids in helping kids absorb curriculum.

But school boards have wildly inconsistent or nonexistent policies on the issue, forcing many parents to spend months — sometimes years — negotiating their way through the system as their child languishes academically.

While federal law protects a blind person’s right to be accompanied in any public place by a service animal, the rights of children with autism who rely on trained dogs to keep them safe, regulate unruly behaviour and help them develop socially are not so clear.

Read more:

How open would your school be to having a service dog in the classroom?  Would you consider this for your child?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2010
Sat, 04-19-2014 - 9:05pm

I would be very open to a service dog in the classroom. As a matter of fact, my child's teacher brings her dog to the classoom.  He is a trained therapy dog and everyone loves him. She has days set aside for the chidren to bring their pets. Its a wonderful addition to an already wonderful classroom!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-07-2014
Wed, 05-07-2014 - 4:18pm

I have mixed feelings on this issue.  I have a son in an SDC classroom that used to be deathly afraid of dogs.  He would not have been able to handle a classroom with a dog in it and it would have been a huge distraction for him.  There are also kids who are allergic to dogs.  So, while it can help some kids it can be a distraction to others that may have their own issues.  But I am not opposed, just not sure how to balance the two issues.  Also, there probably should be rules around actual certification as there are people who put a service dog vest on a dog that actually has had no training.

My son's classroom has a therapy dog which is fine, its only an hour a week.  There is a service dog that has started coming to school in the classroom nextdoor.