School dog program upsets parent
English Language School Board plans to develop procedures dealing with animals in schools
A dog training program for students of Prince Street Elementary School in Charlottetown has one parent upset.
Three dogs owned by a teacher and the principal have been spending their days at Prince Street during the school year. Grades 5 and 6 students help train the dogs to learn about leadership and empathy.
But parent Krista MacLeod says she didn't know dogs were in the school until a few weeks ago after her son had an asthma attack, which she thinks was triggered by a dog allergy.
"That is lovely of them, but there's still more concerns that need to be addressed regarding these animals," she said.
Each year a form goes home asking parents to disclose any pertinent medical information, such as allergies, that the student may have, says principal Erin Johnston.
The school said it hadn't been informed that MacLeod's son had an allergy to dogs.
But MacLeod said having animals in a classroom isn't something "a parent would automatically think about putting on an allergy sheet."
Puppy Project creator Eileen Higginbotham said the program was well thought out.
"We did look at the whole school component because the dogs are in the school, you want to be sure that we don't have an allergy," said Eileen Higginbotham.
No animal policy
Johnston says the school board has no official animal policy, but she says the dogs never would have been brought in if they weren't safe.
"The dogs had all the appropriate medical shots and treatments and all of those different things. They were safe dogs," said Johnston.
The English Language School Board now plans to develop official procedures that deal with animals in schools.
The school says it will include information about the dog program in next year's school handbook so that parents are fully informed.