Waterloo, Ontario – The St. Teresa Catholic Elementary School of the Waterloo Catholic District refused to let an autistic boy bring his service dog to school, but this issue is still not solved.
Jack Baldwin is a 9-year old autistic boy that after 2 and a half years waiting for his service dog, he finally got him in January. As it will take them around a year to fully adapt to each other, right now they are still getting to know each other’s needs. But mainly, Jesper -the service Poodle- helps Jack deal with anxiety.
Jesper goes with Jack everywhere, well, almost everywhere. Only his school hasn’t allowed him in. After the first day when Jack’s mom took Jensen inside the school to drop off Jack, she received a call from the school telling her the dog was not allowed in the premises.
They state that they have to think of the needs of all of the students and not only of Jack’s. But they have refused to explain more or to grant interviews, leaving the issue still unresolved.
Even though Jack’s mom doesn’t want to fight but to solve it through discussion instead, this issue caught the attention of Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife, who says she will bring a petition to Queen’s Park “calling for employers and public spaces like schools to understand that therapy dogs play an important role in ensuring accommodations for those with special needs.”
In these cases, is education what is needed and hopefully it will help the school to understand all the benefits that Jack and his classmates will have after experiencing the role of service dogs. It’s a great sensitivity lesson.