Schools Are Facing A Doggone Big Problem

Therapy Dogs offer thousands of Americans a unique and practical way to cope with their disabilities. There was a time when special licenses, permission or even permits were required for a dog to be allowed into stores or offices. Today, most merchants and businesses now recognize the contribution made by these animals and welcome them with open arms. However, not everyone has hung out the welcome sign for Canine Caregivers.

A number of public schools throughout the USA are now facing a problem that they may have helped create. Students with therapy dogs are asking that their animals be allowed to accompany them on to school property. Most of these requests have been turned down. Arguments against allowing dogs on campus include how they'll affect people who are allergic to animals and the possibility that they may cause a disruption of the learning process. However, is this fair considering the fact that schools now routinely allow other students with behavioral problems to take powerful drugs on campus?

Public schools have made it crystal clear that they are willing to do most anything to help students learn. This includes allowing children of all ages to be given prescription drugs to help control their behavior and improve their ability to learn. Based on incidents reported and unreported, we can easily state that students taking prescription medicines can have reactions to these drugs and become sick or cause a disruption in the learning environment when they act out or physically attack their peers. If that's the case, is it fair to allow students taking powerful psychiatric drugs on school property while therapy dogs are banned?

If public school officials are really advocates for learning, they should be willing to accept alternative methods of treatment and therapy for students with disabilities. No safety provisions have been made for pupils at risk from classmates on prescription drugs who disrupt classes, start fights, attack others without warning and have even been connected to school shootings. Yet, those in charge of our schools cannot seem to accommodate students who learn and function better with therapy dogs.

This issue is less about allowing animals on campus, and more about intellectual bigotry and political correctness. Several public schools in Arizona have turned down requests by students to allow therapy dogs to accompany them into class. At the same time, the State Government has panned the trapping or shooting of Mountain Lions and Coyotes who have wandered on or close to school properties. They tell us we should learn to coexist with our animal neighbors. I guess that means only if the animal neighbors happen to be endangered species or special favorites of the environmentalist movement.

Therapy dogs and other animal caregivers are now being used successfully to help people function to their maximum potential in society. Schools should be willing to accommodate students with Canine Caregivers, just as they accommodate others who require special conditions or prescription drugs to properly learn and function on campus. Dogs have become more then just treasured pets for thousands of people. They are loyal and reliable partners helping those with disabilities to improve their lives.

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