This week, Battlin' Barb Hall gave us 50 Ways to Screw Your Landlord. Last week, she told us that Access is a Human Right. The Windsor Star reports today on a new windmill that she can tilt at, and my money is on Barbie. I bet she will tilt this one, and beat it to death.
Annika Merner, of Windsor has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and as such gets easily stressed and distracted. For the last 3 years she has had a legally licensed service dog. But, for only a little over a year, her parents have been campaigning for her to be able to bring the dog to school with her. She, of course knows the battle they are fighting and so asks them regularly: "when can Cargo come to school with me?" I love when a beat writer tries to tug at your heart strings.
As the Star reports:
One year and three months later, the Education Committee of the Greater Essex County District School Board has approved in principle a policy allowing properly documented service dogs into school classrooms.
Sharon Pyke, superintendent of special education, said Friday she expects trustees will consider the recommendation at the next full board meeting in two weeks.
After an orientation period for principals and school staff, she said, service dogs could be welcome in the classroom.
But, Mama Bear is not so easily mollified, and wants blood (probably sees a free shot at blood money). She calls it principle. I call it principal, and I don't mean the guy at the school. I mean cold hard cash, you know for pain and suffering.
Here's her side:
But Chantal Merner, the girl's mother, insists the board's recommended policy comes too late.
"For over a year we've been fighting to have our daughter's service dog go to school with her," said Merner.
"We've given them two deadlines that weren't met.... My daughter went all last year without her dog and is still without the dog. So we've decided to go the Ontario Human Rights Commission."
Despite the fact the situation may be rectified in a matter of weeks, she insists they will continue with their case on principle.
She said the board had no right to deny access in the first place.
She said the right to have a service dog is guaranteed by the Ontario Disabilities Act.
"The board can't go above the provincial law and it clearly states service dogs are guaranteed access," said Merner.
"The board is not as transparent or as proactive for special needs children as it's made out to be."
There we go. The Board had no RIGHT, no RIGHT I tell you. How dare they not give me what I want when I want it, even if I waited two years to ask them for it, they should have jumped right on it. If they were really smart, they would have anticipated my RIGHT before I even expressed it.
So, Mama Bear is really a guard dog, protecting her young, so to speak. If they had allowed the service dog earlier, they wouldn't be getting bitten by the guard dog now, I guess.
Here's a telling line in the story:
She is also concerned the dog may be disallowed because of possible allergies.
Sort of the chink in the armour as it were. Seems that the board had to validly, I would think look out for other children in the school as well as little Annika. Some kids are allergic to animals, like dogs. I can see that the board might not want a child dropping dead on the school yard from allergies, sort of gives education a bad name, don't you think?
Well, as the article draws to a close, we see that Mama Bear, or Guard Dog, whatever you call her is the least reasonable person in this thing:
Pyke (Sharon Pyke, superintendent of special education) said the board put together a committee to study the issue last November and that several considerations had to be satisfied, including setting protocols for service dogs.
Those protocols require parents to provide documentation establishing the need for the animal and that it is certified and well trained.
She said there has been more demand for service dogs in recent years because they are being trained now to work with a variety of disabled people, rather than only with the visually impaired.
The dogs are trained for children who suffer seizures, the deaf, the blind, people with physical disabilities and, most recently, children with autism.
"This is not Fido coming to school," she said. "When the harness is on, they're working."
But, Barb will take this on. She always does, when she sees a new constituency she can pick up, or an old one to pick on. She has been on School Boards a number of times, and is looking for ways to take over education in this province. Why not, she's got the landlords, transit systems and restaurants under her belt now.
Fellow Ontarians. Have you had enough yet? If so, tell McGuinty. If you don't tell him now, remember to tell him next time we go to the polls. Tim Hudak and the Conservatives are more than happy to start cleaning up Barb Hall's liberal Liberal messes, if McGuinty won't, and from the sounds of it, he won't.