Christian School kicks out Disabled Student for having a service dog.

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

Now the link is from an Atheist Blog but he does link to the news story (and I have as well).

Seems that Horizon Christian Elementary School feels that a service dog would be detrimental to her fellow students because the students might feel inclined to pet the dog OR that a child might be allergic.

Please read the whole article. My mother (the very Christian Episcopalian) sent me the blog. I told her that I wished people would stop hijacking her religion with this BullPuckey!

and this is the news article directly:

I would remind these knuckleheads of the following verses.

Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV)

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.


Mark 10:13-16 (KJV)

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

It's really sad folks, when the anti-theist/atheist has to remind them of what their own book says. But again, what do I know being the anti-theist/atheist?


View replies by

[deleted account]

I do understand what you're saying and I'll take a bit to think before I fire off an answer. :-)

Mary - posted on 12/02/2012




Jen, I don't know what the best answer is - but I'm guessing that a private school, religiously affiliated or not, is probably not the way to go for a child with serious medical issues. I couldn't find a whole lot of information on this particular story, but I'd be willing to bet that part of what pushed the school to reject her service dog may have been other parent's complaints. The ADA exemption merely enabled them to respond to it.

I am a crazy dog person. I have two of my own, and volunteer at my local shelter. Three days a week, after dropping off my daughter at preschool, I spend an hour or two walking shelter dogs, playing with them, and working with them on socialization skills and learning basic commands. I pick Molly up from school, feed her lunch, and then spend another hour walking my dogs with her and 3 of her little friends. If I'm being honest, I like dogs better than most people.

However, I have met more than a few people - both adults and kids - who are absolutely terrified of dogs. Some of them are downright dysfunctional in their presence. A friend of my daughter's is so petrified of dogs that she will never be able to come to our house for a play date. Even if I put the dogs in my bedroom, they will bark and cry, and this little girl absolutely decompensates. I'm pretty sure that if this little girl was in a class with a service dog, her parents would be all over the school's ass about it's undeniably negative impact on their kid. She is not the only little kid I've encountered that reacts this way.

Then we have the whole allergy issue. While I'm guessing that a severe reaction such as your friend's son is not all that common, a lot of people do have varying degrees of animal allergies. How do you handle those kids if another child has a service dog? Again, this is not an issue in my life, but if my kid was allergic to dogs, I'm pretty sure I'd be bitching up a storm if there was suddenly a dog in her classroom all day. I'm sympathetic to the needs of other children, and would try to be as understanding as I could, but if accommodating that child was in any way jeopardizing the well being of my child, I'm pretty sure that I'd be bitching up a storm.

It is a fine line to walk, and there are no simple answers. In this scenario, I'm guessing that the ADA exemption just made it easier for this school to avoid dealing with it altogether. As disturbing as the situation is, and as badly as I feel for this little girl, I can sort of understand why the school did what it did. When I think about some of the nutty, overprotective parents that I encounter in my own child's school and other activities, I'm pretty confident that this school was dealing with more than a few parental complaints.

[deleted account]

I know that many private schools are small and privately funded therefore they need every penny to be spent wisely. However, when I read about this school's funding on its own website then I know money likely wasn't an issue.

Yes, I am aware that school nurses have a lot on their shoulders. Everything from peanut allergies to diabetics.

Is the answer to remove all these children? Why not just post that since they are a private school they do not accept students with the following disabilities, etc., etc. We both know why that is not a public statement It's easier to just do it on the quiet and hope that no one finds out.

I'm sorry but I just can't accept their reasoning.

Now a friend of mine on FB posted that her son can't breathe if he's near a dog due to allergies and that something had to give and I understand her concern, at least as much as a person who has not faced that challenge can be but I think someone has to either say we won't take students with diseases/deformities/issues or find creative solutions.

Mary - posted on 12/02/2012




I have wasted entirely too much time this morning researching ADA exemptions and religious organizations. I still do not understand why this exemption exists in the first place. I've read a ton about the complexities of the application of this exemption, but nowhere can I come up with any good explanation as to why this exemption was included in the ADA. I'm really rather frustrated and baffled over the whole damned thing.

That being said, I'm fairly confident that this school is hiding behind their religious exemption to just get rid of a student they probably didn't want to deal with even before she got a service dog. The addition of a dog was simply a "good excuse" to eject this girl from their student body.

Over the years, I've talked with more than a few school nurses about what their job entails, and how much more difficult it has become as more and more children with serious medical issues are attending "regular" schools. Please understand, in no way am I suggesting that children such as the girl in the OP should be denied access to an education, or attendance at any school for which she is qualified. However, I have seen glimpses into just how challenging it is for schools to accommodate and safely care for these kids. It is even harder for smaller private schools to do so; they do not have the luxury of even hoping for any kind of state or federal funding or aid to help meet the needs of these kids. Most private schools (religious or not) are not that big, and at best, only have the funding for one school nurse. They pay significantly less than public schools (and for nursing, despite the "better hours", this is one of the lowest paying nursing jobs around), so these jobs are often filled part-time by two or three RN's who have students in the school. They often aren't "career school nurses", but are rather looking for something to do on a casual basis now that they kids aren't home with them all day. They are qualified, and more than sufficient, to deal with the "normal" childhood illnesses and injuries that crop up during school hours with otherwise healthy kids. However, when you are talking about managing a variety of serious chronic illnesses and conditions, with either limited or no outside resources and's a task that many small private schools find too risky and overwhelming.

I don't exactly blame them for that either - especially in this day and age of liability and lawsuits. Even without the litigious side of things, there is the undeniable fear and anxiety about preventing or managing a serious complication of whatever child's condition. I get that no school - religious or not - wants to be the bad guy and turn away a disabled child, but the truth is, most of them really are ill-equipped and acutely fearful when dealing with these types of students. I'm guessing that the addition of the dog, and their exemption from the ADA was just the type of excuse they were looking for to get this kid out of their school. It enabled them to claim concern for other students as a justification with the hope that it would make them seem a little less heartless than the actual truth.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms