A public high school in South Australia has finally allowed a student’s service dog on campus after the family says they spent a year trying to get permission.
Logan Reese, 12, took his service dog Hunter to elementary school for three years to support him with his epilepsy, autism and cerebral palsy.
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But in February 2002 — a year before Logan was scheduled to start at Murray Bridge High School — mother Murianna Reese said she had told the school that her son would still need Hunter with her when he graduated from elementary school, but it was said her that the dog is not allowed.
She said staff are concerned other children may have allergies or be uncomfortable with a dog on school property.
“Hunter is really important to Logan — he’s his mate, his support,” Murianna told Sunrise on Wednesday.
“He’s trained to alert people to Logan’s seizures.”
Murianna said she has been in contact with the school for the past year asking for permission, but has not been allowed to allow Hunter to go to school with Logan this year.
She then emailed a complaint to the school principal along with the Prime Minister and Minister for Education.
Logan attended the first two weeks of high school this year without Hunter, who helps him feel safer in social situations and reduces his anxiety about seizures, Murianna said.
“Logan[was]crying and begging not to go to school because Hunter couldn’t be there,” she said.
The day the family spoke to Sunrise, they also attended a pre-arranged meeting with the principal and education department – after which they had good news.
South Australia’s Department of Education announced that while it has already provided Logan with an assistant officer at school, it will now also meet his need for an assistance dog.
A department spokesman noted that the situation was “complex” and the school had to consider the needs of other students, even if they had allergies.
“Murray Bridge High School worked closely with the family to find a positive resolution for Logan and the rest of his classmates,” the spokesperson said.
“The department will also provide a dog handler to look after their dog while on site to assist Logan. Recruitment for this role has already begun.”
Hunter the Dog is scheduled to begin orientation at the school soon. School staff will also receive dog training, the spokesman said.
Murianna said she feels her standing up for Logan and Hunter has paid off.
“Anyone with a disability has as many human rights as anyone else,” she said.
– With Sowaibah Hanifie
https://7news.com.au/news/sa/disability-assistance-dog-allowed-at-murray-bridge-high-school-after-mothers-complaints-c-9764824 Disabled assistance dog allowed at Murray Bridge High School after mother’s complaints