And I always thought Calgary was in the same century as the rest of us… What’s going on up there Calgary Dogsters?
This article was published in The Calgary Sun.
Dog Ban Draws Rights Complaints
By TARINA WHITE
The outraged parents of a disabled Calgary teen whose service dog has been banned from the classroom are pursuing legal action, saying their son’s human rights have been violated.
Cooper James, afflicted with spinal muscular dystrophy, received a service dog from the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides in June to increase his independence.
Kodak, a standard poodle, is trained to open doors, pick up dropped items and to assist Cooper in standing after a fall.
But the Grade 11 student and his parents were told yesterday Cooper won’t be allowed to bring the dog to Dr. E. P. Scarlett high school when classes resume next week.
Eyvis James said she has contacted a lawyer and is in the process of filing a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
“It shouldn’t even be an issue, it’s his right,” she said. “We’re going to take the Calgary Board of Education to task for this.”
Cooper’s condition is a degenerative neuromuscular disease and he also recently acquired an electric wheelchair, James said.
“(The dog) just makes his whole life easier,” she said. “If he drops his keys, for example, it takes him half-an-hour to get up out of his chair, bend down to pick up the keys (and) get back in the chair.”
Cooper said he’s frustrated with the response from the school board.
“People don’t understand, and in a way, it’s a bit depressing,” said the 15-year-old.
“Independence is very important for a disabled person.”
Calgary Board of Education spokeswoman Barb Kuester said dogs are not permitted on school property for the protection of students who may be allergic or fearful.