Service dog denied in Sherrard grade school

A Quad City community is standing behind a second grader and her family after she was no longer allowed to bring her service dog to school. That family is now seeking legal action against the district.

It was a crowd of purple outside the Sherrard school board meeting Wednesday May 21, 2014. None of them were there for items on the agenda but for a former Sherrard student.

Eight-year-old Kellsey McGuire has epilepsy and suffers from seizures because of it.  Over a month ago she got a service dog that she started bringing to Sherrard Grade School.

“They were all gung-ho held an assembly were very excited to have the dog come to school and then within a few weeks situation started happening at school,” said family friend Jennifer Holliday about the school.

What was once happier times for the McGuire family has now become an unfortunate situation.

“Kellsey was welcomed to come to school however Jasper would not be allowed to come with her which was extremely unfortunate,” said Ribbons for Kellsey committee member April Bowlyou.

A non-for-profit organization called Ribbons for Kellsey tells us there was an issue between Kellsey’s art teacher and her dog. The school called the McGuires and said Kellsey would no longer be allowed to bring her dog Jasper to school.

“This was a piece of medical equipment that was denied for her basically. It violated the Americans with disabilities act is what occurred,” said Bowlyou.

Forcing the McGuires to take their daughter to Jordan Catholic School and now take legal action against the school. A fight they’re not fighting alone.

“I want them to understand that this is a child in their community. Um this is a well respected family who’s only goal was to see their child succeed in school,” said Bowlyou.

While the process moves forward the board did vote to at least not to pay tuition at Jordan Catholic. News Eight spoke to the superintendent who said he couldn’t comment because of legal matters.

264 comments

  • Dan Frain

    Get out your checkbook, school board.

    It’ll cost you a lot less to pay tuition & transportation to Jordan now than later on when the lawyers get involved.

    • Erin Colleen

      The art teacher ALSO has a service dog. And Jasper was threatening both the teacher and her SD. There is SO much more to this story than is being reported by the news.

      • Kirsten Richards

        The teacher has a puppy in training to become a service dog which the teacher says never encountered Jasper. The child’s sister claims the puppy barked at Jasper, but no one involved has claimed Jasper was threatening the puppy.

  • Rebekah

    Is that school teaching students or paying teachers? I hope every sitting board member who’s term is up has someone running against them!

  • Melissa Dalland

    The reporter needs to look up the difference between a therapy dog and service dog. If it’s a service dog they have a suit but not for a therapy dog.

    • Chris Hoskins

      These types of dogs are service or an “alert” dog not a therapy dog. Apparently the reporter doesn’t know there is a difference. Sherrard school district just made a huge mistake by denying this dog because of an art teacher. I’m rather upset now that my tax dollars go to this school district that sides with a teacher and not a child with a disability.

      • Sherry Al-Mufti

        The media are not telling anything close to the whole story. The problem is not the art teacher, who is by the way a quadriplegic who uses a wheelchair, but the behavior of the dog.

        If it is a fact that the dog reacts to the sight of the wheelchair by barking and lunging, then the school is not only completely within its rights under the ADA to remove the dog, but they are also acting in the best interest of Kelsey.

        If the dog loses control in the presence of certain triggers, such as a wheelchair, then it is a risk to Kelsey’s safety and well-being. It needs to go through a program of behavior modification to help it feel comfortable in the presence of those triggers so that it can remain calm and focused at all times, as service dogs are required to be.

  • Brian Anseeuw, MD Neurologist

    This is Disgusting, The service dog for Epilepsy patients can be life saving! This is definitely prejudice against the disabled and a clear violation of the ADA.

    • Kelly Caccamo

      That is INCORRECT, Jasper has NEVER hurt or been threatening to anyone and that is a FACT! In fact, she couldn’t call the police cuz Jasper refused to participate in her attempts, his only concern was Kellsey’s safety and clung to Kellsey. LIES LIES LIES LIES!!!!!

    • Renee

      I’m curious about this unruly dog. My daughter attends Jordan Catholic and to date the dog and children co-exist peacefully. The students attended an assembly to learn about Kelsey and her dog. It was made clear that Kelsey’s dog is a service/therapy dog and should not be played with or treated like a pet by other students. It makes me wonder if there is an issue with this teacher and/ or the students in the school.
      Kelsey deserves a chance to have a full life and an education. She has rights like all other children in our country. If it takes a service/ therapy dog to keep her safe everyday so she can accomplish all her dreams and goals than the dog should be accommodated. I wish all problems could be solved do easily.

      • umrayya

        Jasper is not a service/therapy dog because there is no such thing as a service/therapy dog. They are two entirely different things with entirely different purposes and training.

      • formerly of the quad cities

        Does anyone else wonder if umrayya is the teacher in question?
        I would hope that a service/therapy dog would lunge or bark of they perceived a threat to the person they were protecting.

      • umrayya

        First, no, I am not the “teacher in question”. I am a disabled person who uses a service dog and who works with a non-profit that does advocacy work for service dog handlers, and conducts educational programs for businesses, and public facilities on their rights and responsibilities in regard to service dogs.

        Second there is no such thing as a service/therapy dog. They are two completely different things. A service dog is a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate a single handler’s disability. The relationship between service dog and handler is one-to-one.A therapy dog is a dog is also a trained dog, but it is not trained in specific tasks. A therapy dog is taken to hospitals, convalescent homes, and scenes of disasters/tragedies to provide comfort to patients, and people who have experienced trauma. The relationship between therapy dog and patient is one-to-many.

        Jasper is a service dog. Jasper is not a therapy dog. Jasper is not a service/therapy dog because there is no such thing as a service/therapy dog.

        Neither service dogs nor therapy dogs protect people, and in fact, protection training is by law not allowed for service dogs. A dog that shows any form of aggression, including “protective aggression” is not considered suitable to be a service dog.

        A service dog provides assistance to a single disabled handler in the form of specific tasks intended to help mitigate that handler’s disability. A therapy dog provides comfort to multiple people by its calm, and friendly presence. Therapy dogs are carefully tested by therapy dog organizations for both temperament and training. Any level of “protective” behavior is completely unacceptable in a therapy dog, and would cause a therapy dog organization to reject it.

        I hope you now understand the difference between a service dog and a therapy dog.

        Wishing for a just outcome of this conflict, based on all the facts and evidence.

      • Val Frost and Bubbles

        All dogs, whether or not they are used for service/therapy/guide/seizure/hearing/diabetes – are inherently man’s protector. They sense danger by instinct and react for the safety of their handler. This is just one thing that they do naturally. I have a 166-lb Newfoundland Service Dog, named “Bubbles”. She guarded me using a smile and a low warning growl, late one night, as a stalker was close behind me and I never ever heard him/her. My girl went from my left side to my right side – facing behind me and once the low growl was uttered, a scream was heard and the person was breaking the land speed record running away from us. She “bull pulls” me away from any possible danger and pulls me around anything that could cause me harm. Aside from this, she handles Migraine attacks, strokes, disorientation, vertigo, vision loss and paralysis episodes. I am 64 and suffer from Chronic Migraine Disease, Degenerative Disc Disease and Macular Degeneration. My vision and my mobility are constantly at risk and she re-corrects me when I am confused; she supports me in the event of a fall (as I use her for breaking my fall); she senses my Ocular Migraine attacks which come without warning sometimes, totally blackening my entire visual field – I move my hand to hold her collar and she becomes “my eyes” to get me to either safety or home – she does the judgment call. She warns me of my attacks of migraine and stroke and stays with me throughout them. Last October she stared at me for 20 solid minutes, but I felt no symptoms, so I proceeded to type on my computer – suddenly and without any warning at all (except my dog staring at me) – both of my hands and both of my arms “froze” in position – it lasted about 25 minutes, during which she placed her head on my right thigh – we spoke to God and waited and prayed – and as quickly as it came, it left. I thanked God and then BUBBLES, and immediately typed “arm paralysis and migraine” – and Hemiplegic Migraine popped up! It can cause paralysis from seconds to the rest of your life AND it can affect a portion of your body, or your entire body. There is no way to detect when it will hit. It terrified me at first, but she licked the back of my hand to comfort me and to let me know that I would not be going through it alone. This is an 8 year-old female Newfoundland who was at death’s door and I rescued her and got her “up and running” just in time to be diagnosed with the DDD and the MD – withing 2 days of each other. The CMD I have had since the age of 12 (i.e. 52 years) and I get the variety pack, never knowing what will hit, where it will strike me, how long it will last or to what extent the excruciating pain will reach. My Newfoundland girl is my life. She is my “tranquility base” which gives me my personal integrity, my ability to be mobile and out in the community, my independence, and mostly – the support/comfort/strength/perseverance and unconditional love that every dog gives us. This love, being honestly given with no strings attached, in and of itself, is the best “therapy” in the world. No medication can or ever will replace it. Without getting technical – forget the “fine lines” in the definition. JASPER is this little girl’s life, just as much as the wheelchair is that to the teacher. Something “triggered” that dog on that specific day. Jasper had been there before – with no occurrences, so something “different” occurred that single day that triggered his defense of Kellsey – and that is all that I have to say on the matter. The Illinois State Law will sort it all out, as the entire story line will never be told “as the whole truth and nothing but the truth” until such time as it goes to court. Perjury is a crime once you enter the courtroom. I apologize for the length of this, but Bubbles’ and my story had to be brought into this varied, and in part more opinionated than realistic “chat forum”. Let’s just all take a deep breath, have a nice warm cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate, and let the lawyers sort it out. God bless Kellsey and Jasper – the new “bionic duo”. God bless us, everyone. Val Frost and “Bubbles”, my female Newfoundland Service Dog, in Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.

      • umrayya

        “All dogs…are inherently man’s protector. They sense danger by instinct and react for the safety of their handler. This is just one thing that they do naturally.”

        What utter, romantic, unscientific nonsense. Dogs do not exist to be man’s protector, they do not sense danger by “instinct”. Dogs do what they are driven to do to take care of themselves. Dogs that react aggressively are nearly always doing so out of fear for themselves, not out of some inherent, inborn impulse to protect humans.

        “Something “triggered” that dog on that specific day. Jasper had been there before – with no occurrences, so something “different” occurred that single day that triggered his defense of Kellsey – and that is all that I have to say on the matter.”

        Well, at least we are no longer getting blanket denial that anything even happened – that’s a start.

        However, if Jasper did react to the teacher’s wheelchair, or to children, or to adults, or to other objects in the environment it was not in defense of Kellsey, it was out of fear. More to the point, even IF Jasper’s aggressive behavior HAD been in defense of Kellsey, that makes him inappropriate as a service dog, especially for a child who is too small to control him if he lunges at someone.

        Instead of either denying or justifying Jasper’s dangerous behavior (or, as some here have done, alternately doing one then the other), the most helpful thing people can do for Kellsey is to get Jasper the help he needs to overcome his discomfort around the triggers that bring on behavior that sooner or later will cause more harm, and great heartbreak to that innocent little girl who is caught up in this controversy.

      • Kirsten Richards

        Agreed. Dogs are dogs, and like humans, they are fallible. They are as capable as humans of having irrational fears and beliefs. There are dogs that just take a disliking to a person because they look different. This is why therapy dog tests include testing the dog’s reaction to people who look different, people in a wheelchair, people who cough or use crutches, people who limp or wear floppy hats. This is something that is supposed to be tested thoroughly by the program before placing the dog, but because there is no regulation of programs that train service dogs, you cannot count on them actually being competent or doing a proper job. You cannot assume they did it.

        Some dogs are even racist (see the Wikipedia article entitled “White Dog.” They can react badly to a person out of bigotry, just because of how the person looks, not because the person has ever done anything to them and not because they are somehow psychic and can read their minds.

        Dogs can also suffer from PTSD from past abuse. This dog was a rescue. Maybe he has baggage from his former life that makes him nervous, anxious, or irrationally defensive. We don’t know. But a board certified animal behaviorist can easily figure that out.

        I can’t get over these people who automatically assume the dog must always be right and if he aggresses at someone it must be the person’s fault. Well sometimes the dog has personal issues of his own. This is not as significant of a problem with a pet dog because if you know he doesn’t like mail carriers, then you don’t let him interact with your mail carrier. But with a service dog, he’s doing a high stress job that is going to bring out his worst idiosyncrasies and there are some things one cannot avoid and also move freely in public. If a dog is reacting aggressively toward someone in public, the law is very clear: he can legally be excluded from that place, even if it is a service dog.

      • Wendy

        Kirsten, I agree with most of the rest of what you’ve said, but I’m sorry, dogs are *not* bigots, and they are *not* racist.

        When they react negatively to people of a different skin color (or hair color, height, use of assistive devices, or whatever) than what they are accustomed to, it’s because those people are simply *different* from what they’re used to.

        They don’t have the thinking capability to discriminate or hate people of other colors or abilities just because of those. You cannot anthropomorphize like this. Bigotry and racism are value systems.

        A dog with a good temperament will adjust and be just fine once it realizes those people are no threat. Once it’s been *exposed* to those different situations and different-looking people.

        It’s no different from them simply learning that wheelchairs, cars, and even airplanes and busy airports are not dangerous.

        Or other animals of other species they’ve never met before, for that matter.

        We can’t say that dogs suffer from PTSD specifically, either. They do remember negative things, and will often react badly when those situations reappear, but that’s not necessarily the same thing as actual PTSD.

      • Kirsten Richards

        “When they react negatively to people of a different skin color (or hair color, height, use of assistive devices, or whatever) than what they are accustomed to, it’s because those people are simply *different* from what they’re used to.”

        By definition: “Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust or hatred on the basis of a person’s ethnicity, evaluative orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

        What motivates bigotry? Mostly it’s fear of the unknown or unfamiliar…. that which is “different.”

      • Kirsten Richards

        It was not one incident on a single day or a single target for the dog’s aggression. It was reported as a continuing problem by multiple witnesses and the dog aggressed at several people, including other students.

        This is not, and never was about depriving the child of a service dog. That’s a red herring. It’s about whether or not this individual dog is safe to be in that school around children. If the dog is not safe, then it is the responsibility of the program that provided the dog to replace him. So the little girl could continue to use a service dog, but a safe one. So it’s not about denying her a service dog either.

        It’s about the safety of not just one child or one teacher at the school, but ALL of them.

        Instead of trying to make it about something it is not, simply have the dog tested by an independent board certified animal behaviorist. Then you will know for certain if the dog has issues that make him a danger in that school and if so, what options there may be for rehabilitating him or whether he can be rehabilitated.

        If the dog is fine, then carry on allowing him in school. If he isn’t fine, remove him until he can be rehabilitated and retested and approved by the behaviorist. If he can’t be rehabilitated, replace him with a more suitable dog that is not a danger to others. Simple. If a wheelchair was broken you’d fix or replace it too. You wouldn’t insist on using it even if it put others in danger when that isn’t the only option. It was never the only option. So why try to make it seem like it is?

      • Wendy

        What triggered him in the grocery store where he reportedly also reacted equally badly to the carts and tried to attack people there?

        Dogs do indeed protect their own selves and their pack from *obvious* threats.

        *Well-trained* dogs, however, and those with appropriate temperaments for being service dogs to start with, can tell the difference. Easily.

      • Kirsten Richards

        A service dog is individually trained to do something to mitigate their human partner’s disability. A therapy dog is a pet that is taken by invitation from the facility to visit hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up the residents. They are two entirely different unrelated things. Therapy dogs are specifically excluded from inclusion under the ADA. That the writer of this story used both shows they did not do much research or understand quite what a service dog actually is.

        It is not appropriate for EITHER to bark at a person, no matter what. Under the ADA any dog that shows any kind of aggression can legally be barred from the facility. Any therapy dog that does it will lose it’s insurance.

        From the ADA regulations: “The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.” http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_regulations.htm#a104

        And from the ADA guidance: “A
        person with a disability cannot
        be asked to remove his service
        animal from the premises unless:
        (1) the animal is out of control and
        the animal’s owner does not take
        effective action to control it (for
        example, a dog that barks
        repeatedly during a movie) or (2)
        the animal poses a direct threat to
        the health or safety of others.” http://www.ada.gov/svcabrs3.pdf

        Service dogs especially are specifically selected and trained not to act protectively. They accompany their owners to doctor’s appointments and dentists appointments where invasive procedures may cause the handler discomfort and the dog must not react. In an emergency EMS personnel need to be able to access an ill or injured handler without risk to their own health and safety. And finally, the reality of having a service dog is that you will encounter people who don’t want your dog there and sometimes they get in your face and yell and if your dog reacts when they do, then you lose the right to use him in public any more.

        Properly trained and handled service dogs do not behave aggressively EVER because doing so is a career ender. A properly trained and handled service dog would not be phased by what the teacher is accused of doing. He won’t be phased by a toddler pulling his hair or a loose child in a grocery store charging full tilt at him and bear hugging him. You do not want anything less than that kind of reliability in a school around hundreds of children.

      • Kendall

        Formerly of the quad cities…are you aware of the fact that it is AGAINST THE LAW for a service dog to bark or lunge at a person in public?

        For this very reason, as a service dog trainer myself, our service dogs in training go through training sessions with simulated events where people charge at them, come running at them with sticks, or baseball bats, drop things around them, and yell at them while stomping their feet or waving their hands at them. The people used in these simulated events also wear different types of hats, are of different ethnic backgrounds, wear silly clothes (like halloween masks, big parkas, and different types of uniforms).

        They are also exposed to wheelchairs on a regular basis from the time they are puppies.

        All of this is an effort to desensitize the dogs and make them rock solid in any situation or event, and around every type of person, because they absolutely can not bark or lunge at anyone, ever, in public.

        The fact that you are excusing this dog’s behavior simply because the art teacher uses a wheelchair is just wrong and makes the supporters of this aggressive dog and the case they are trying to make, look weak and prejudiced and uneducated.

        And, the fact that you somehow imply that the dog was “protecting” the student is even more upsetting. No person should be aggressed by a dog, while using a wheelchair, whether they just happen to roll by that dog or purposefully roll by that dog. Especially because this person is employed there and has the right to go wherever she pleases within her place of employment.

        The dog should be well-behaved NO. MATTER. WHAT. and to say otherwise is admitting fault in the eyes of the ADA and the verbiage supporting it.

      • formerly of the quad cities

        Wow. So many service dog authorities in the quad cities. An important point keeps being overlooked by all but a few. The teacher should NOT be training service dogs on school time. As a taxpayer I would be very upset with the school allowing that to happen.why are her dogs kept caged in her car. Perhaps they are the agressive dogs.

      • umrayya

        For your information, not all of the commenters here are from the quad cities, or even from Illinois, or even from the midwest. This case is of significant interest to many members of the service dog community throughout the country. We are concerned, in part, about the often egregious misstatements we are reading here on the topic of service dogs, service dog training, and service dog law.

        I have seen no evidence that the teacher was training any dogs on school time. From what I understand she was bringing her service dog in training to school to expose it to the stimuli it will encounter once it is a working service dog. This is permitted under Illinois state law, and is a critical part of service dog training.

      • Kirsten Richards

        She does volunteer as a trainer for a service dog program (simple search will show this). But the trainee that she had in class, the only dog she says she has ever had in class, was the one she was training for her personal use and he was only there for acclimation since this is her workplace and she needs the dog to be acclimated to it when he becomes a working service dog.

      • Wendy

        I understand that she is also quite highly respected as both a regular dog trainer and specifically as a service dog trainer.

        As she is also quite highly respected as a schoolteacher, apparently.

        Why anyone on earth would think she did anything to provoke Jasper, or anything inappropriate at all on school time, is a complete mystery to me.

      • Kirsten Richards

        The teacher does train for a program, but she stated the only dog she took to her class room was her own adolescent dog she was training to become a service dog for herself (as she is herself disabled). She stated that the dog was there for acclimatization (just to be around the sights, sounds and smells of the class room where it will be working in future).

        Both sides agree that the teacher’s trainee was kept crated while in class. The teacher says the two dogs were never in the classroom on the same day, and never encountered each other. Someone identifying themselves online as the child’s sister claimed they did encounter each other once. So whether the dogs met is in dispute.

        The real issue is determining whether or not the child’s dog is safe. He is or he isn’t. That is actually easy to determine. Just have an independent board certified animal behaviorist evaluate the dog in the school environment. No more “he said, she said.” Just the plain facts.

        Heck test both of the dogs.

      • umrayya

        Could not agree with you more, Kirsten Richards.

        If Jasper is in fact reactive to wheelchairs and/or other triggers, then it puts Kellsey at great risk as well as posing a risk to the teachers and other children at the school. It is also extremely disruptive. And, of course, it cannot be pleasant for Jasper to be upset by objects in his environment.

        As you suggest, an evaluation by an independent board certified behaviorist would help answer this question one way or the other. If Jasper is reactive to certain triggers, a course of desensitization and counter conditioning could very well help him to be comfortable with those triggers, and allow him to live a more comfortable life, and remove the risk to Kellsey and others.

      • Kim Campbell (@kimmcamp)

        It doesn’t appear like the family that has Jasper, has any interest in ensuring her and others safety, they just want to slander the teacher who is ALSO disabled and in a wheelchair. Their pathetic attempts to score points in the media, making up stories and having their friends spread rumours is very sad. All they really want is for someone else to pay for the kid to go to a private school, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make it so.

      • Wendy

        It would certainly appear that way, Kim. As the saying goes, “follow the money”.

        I have encountered and read about many other people who have been scammed by service dog organizations and been sold dogs who are equally poorly-trained – and *those* people have universally been up in arms at the *organization*.

        *Sane* people recognize a poorly-trained dog when they see one and go after the *right* people when they are scammed. They don’t try to blame it on others.

        They also know not to entrust a loved one’s health to an animal that only does its job half the time or is aggressive to others, *especially* when that loved one is an innocent child.

        Apparently this mother is on this organization’s board, however, so she has a vested interest in *not* holding them to an appropriate standard of care. Or at least it would appear that way.

        At $20,000 bucks a pop for a dog in which extraordinarily little time is invested to train, who benefits from *not* holding that organization responsible?

        Unfortunately, that endangers her own child – and has resulted in mass defamation of an excellent and dedicated teacher.

        Frankly, I hope that child protective services gets involved here. They certainly should. This family’s behavior is disgraceful.

      • Kirsten Richards

        Accusing a parent of child abuse is a VERY serious charge and certainly not appropriate based on your guesses about what is going on in the family with no actual knowledge. Pot, kettle, black.

        Whether someone attacks the teacher because of the dispute OR attacks the family, attacking people over a dispute like this that can be resolved by adults acting like adults is immature and irresponsible. The issue is making sure everyone is safe, not mounting a smear campaign against ANY ONE.

      • Kirsten Richards

        Being in training doesn’t mean the dog was being trained during classes. Crating for acclimatization is not the same thing as training. It shouldn’t take any of the teacher’s focus away from her pupils.

        Dogs are often crated in cars. It doesn’t mean they are aggressive but that the owner is a responsible driver and dog owner. Loose dogs in the car can become projectiles during a sudden stop or collision, injuring the driver or becoming injured themselves. Dogs should be restrained either in crates or with a special seat belt harness.

        I tend to use a crate when the dog is young so I don’t have to keep buying new harnesses as the dog grows. I also use a crate with one of my dogs who is particularly talented at removing her harness. Most responsible dog owners, especially those with multiple dogs, do use crates to restrain their dogs while they are in the car. It was an unrestrained dog that distracted a driver causing him to swerve into Stephen King, famous author, causing him critical injuries.

      • formerly of the quad cities

        The dog was allegedly created while the teacher was in the school allegedly teaching. A seizure dog responds to a seizure or potential seizure by ‘whining,pawing,or anxious barking.’

      • Kirsten Richards

        So the dog was in school while she was teaching. That doesn’t mean she was training the dog while she was teaching. Children don’t learn by osmosis either. But if that’s how Jasper was “trained” (just by being crated in various places) it explains why he’s apparently missing some skills on dealing with people in wheelchairs.

        Young service dog candidates need two main things in addition to instruction on basic manners and toileting: socialization and habituation. They need to be around a huge number of different kinds of people and experience a huge number of different stimuli such as different surfaces, different sites, different sounds, and so on. Crating a young dog in a class room to acclimate the dog to the sights and sounds of a classroom is standard practice especially if you anticipate that particular dog spending any appreciable time in a class room during his career. What’s the objection to the teacher having her trainee there? No one ever complained that he disrupted classes or interfered with her teaching while it was going on. Suddenly now, several months later, it’s an issue. Why?

        You are incorrect about seizure alert dogs. I have one, my third actually None of them have responded by “whining,pawing,or anxious barking.” Dog number one was a poker. He’d poke my nose when he alerted. Dog number two was also a poker. She’d poke my left knee. Dog number three, my current service dog, is a hugger. He’ll stand on his hind legs and wrap his front legs around my neck. I’m not suggesting that no seizure alert dog alerts in the way you describe but that this is not standard or descriptive of seizure alert dogs in general. Also anxious barking is a problem. A serious problem because a service dog should not be nervous and he should not be disruptive. If I had a dog with a natural alert that was a bark, I would retrain it to something less disruptive. Maybe you like having your seizures announced to everyone in earshot but I figure the reason I want a dog to alert me is so I can excuse myself and go someplace quiet and private to have my seizure without a freaking audience.

      • umrayya

        So, if the dog was crated while she was teaching, then she wasn’t training the dog. Get it?

        An alert behavior can be one of a number of things. Whining and anxious barking are not ideal alert behaviors for a number of reasons.

      • Wendy

        Service dogs in training are absolutely legally allowed in schools and elsewhere in that are.

        They must get public exposure somewhere, and specifically in places they will normally be working.

        The teacher isn’t spending her time doing exercises with the dog, I am quite sure. Her dogs in training are kept in their own crate in her classroom.

    • Denise Wetzler

      Yes, Dr. Anseeuw, they can. The law puts requirements on the dog and handler that must be met, or the dog can be properly excluded. 46 CFR Part 36 States the dog must “Do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” It also states the dog must be under the handler’s control (36.302) A service animal may be properly excluded (36.302.c.2.i) if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it.
      The issue at hand is the service dog’s behavior.
      It is not about her right to have a service dog; with rights come responsibilities and this child is too young and not capable of shouldering the responsibilities that accompany the right to have a service dog. As a doctor, this notion of rights and responsibilities should be second nature.

      • Kirsten Richards

        46 CFR Part 36 is about elevated cargoes, not service animals.

        You might have meant 28 CFR Part 36, except that part 36 applies to businesses owned by private individuals and corporations, not government entities. State and local government facilities fall under Title II, not Title III and their implementing regulations appear in part 35, not part 36.

        The correct citation is 28 CFR 35.136

        Title II regulations (as well as Title III regulations) are available for review at the Department of Justice’s ADA site: ada.gov

  • Wendy Drury Struxness

    If it was just art why could not the school have a para or an aide for the teacher while kellsey is in her class. I remember when sherrard in the 90’s made a landmark decision not to deny a child with aids an education. W
    here did those board members go?

    • Kelly Caccamo

      The parents made every attempt to rectify situation without legal counsel. They never wanted to remove Kellsey from Sherrard, but were asked to do so 3 times based on an art teachers failed attempt and false claims (Many many internal witnesses) They removed her from art, but the teacher actively pursued Kellsey and Jasper in hopes to get a response, but Jasper the AMAZING dog he is would not entertain her ill attempts. Jasper is a FURRY angel, bullies should not be allowed to be around children!!!!!

      • Denise Wetzler

        It should be noted that Kellsey’s mother is on the board of tiger service dog program that supplied Jasper, the dog in question. A huge to-do is being made regarding the teacher’s outside involvement with a service dog program, but this mother’s vested interest in HER CHILD’S service dog and its behavior is conspicuously absent.
        Oh, Ms. Caccamo, you have in several posts vehemently shouted “LIES, LIES, LIES!” To quote Shakespeare, “Methinks he doth protest too much.” The facts speak for themself. You’re also misinformed regarding crucial legal points: there is no such thing as a test that will “certify the dog.” It doesn’t exist in state or federal law. A dog can be given a public access test. It is just that: a test. Passing the LSAT doesn’t make you a lawyer; it determines if you will be admitted to law school.
        If I were you, I would be doing my due diligence and not reproducing hearsay that you cannot verify as facts.

    • Kim

      The teacher herself is disabled, and in a wheelchair, the dog lunged at her several times. The teacher did try to have things work out, but the family and some staff members continue to harass her. The teacher herself asked the SD community what she could do to help rectify the situation, but not being able to get away from a dog lunging at you because you are in a wheelchair is very scary. Though I do understand the community raised a lot of money to pay for this dog to be a SD for the child, ANY SD that shows aggression needs either more training or to be retired.

      • janice

        Let’s think about maybe putting her in a different class so the dogs are not around each other.

      • umrayya

        Janice, this is not about the dogs not being around each other, it is about a service dog that reacts to certain triggers by lunging at them. This is not acceptable behavior for a service dog, and is a risk to young Kelsey. For Kelsey’s safety and well-being the dog needs to be removed from the school at least until it can go through a program of behavior modification to help it feel comfortable around objects that trigger these reactions,whether the triggers be other dogs, wheelchairs or anything else.

  • Shannon Taylor

    Shame on Sherrard school for denying Kellsey to be protected from her disability by the use of her service dog. It is a hard enough battle to deal with having a disability and being looked at differently and to go beyond that and force the hands of her parents to put her in a school that will accept her and her service dog. I hope these school board members sit back and think about the example they have set to every child with a disability. Shame Shame Shame! Board members- maybe you should read the ADA!

    • Kelly Caccamo

      Oh Nancy you are FAILING! The dog passed the needed course to certify him, try again! Who did Jasper bite? Oh right, noone!!!!!! You are lying, I will pray for you. I will play your game if you want?

      • umrayya

        “The dog passed the needed course to certify him…”

        Ummmmm – there is no such thing as certification for service dogs.

        Well, actually there is, but it consists of a piece of paper you buy on the internet from one of a number of people who are in the business of printing up and selling fake “service dog certifications” for people who want to fraudulently represent their pets as service dogs. I am NOT suggesting that this is the case with Jasper. I have no reason whatsoever to believe that the family did something like this. I am merely pointing out that when you talk about a service dog being certified you are revealing that you do not know the facts.

    • Kayla

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your information is incorrect. First of all, there is no official “Certification” test for service dogs in the United States. Secondly, training is an ongoing process, and if the dog is reactive (to the art teacher or to anyone) I’m sorry, but more training needs to be done so that the dog’s reactivity is kept in check. Reactivity isn’t just biting or growling, but lunging and really any reaction to outside stimuli. The dog should be calm and focused on its handler, not getting up in arms about the little girl’s teacher. Even dogs who have passed the Canine Good Citizen test (also not required) and service dogs taken from programs can have these issues, but it is not the school board’s responsibility to address them–it would be the family’s. A service dog CAN be denied access if it is being disruptive or causing a problem. Depending on the dog’s age, this could be as simple as a fear period, but issues like this can be easily addressed with training, and a lawsuit will hold no ground if the service dog was being disruptive in the school environment, because the school would be well within its rights to have the dog removed. I am a first time handler with a service dog in training, but my dog does not go into public with me yet because of his age and because I want to make sure that he is properly prepared for situations he will inevitably run into in public. I’m sorry, but if the dog was reactive to the teacher, then I fully understand and support as a handler the school’s decision to ask that the dog be removed.

      • Llynne

        So what makes the Art Teacher’s dog(s) better than the student’s dog? If there is no certification in the US for these disability tools.

      • umrayya

        Who is saying the art teacher’s dog is better than anyone else’s dog.

        Let me try to explain.

        The ADA states explicitly that a service dog may only be removed/barred from premises if it is out of control, if its behavior poses a threat to health or safety or substantially alters the good or services offered by the establishment, or if it urinates or defecates inappropriately (i.e. is “not housebroken”).

        Illinois state law affords access rights for service dogs in training, probably on the same basis as service dogs. Therefore the art teacher is legally entitled to bring her service dog in training to work with her.

        If Jasper did indeed bark, lunge, growl, or attempt to attack a person or persons at the school that is legal ground for removing him.

        If the art teacher’s service dog in training did NOT behave in any of the above-listed ways, then there were no grounds for removing the dog.

        Therefore, by law a service dog or service dog in training that misbehaves in the ways listed above may legally be removed, and a service dog or service dog in training that does not behave in any of the above ways may not legally be removed.

        I hope that clarified the matter.

  • Amy

    There are SERVICE dogs that can detect a seizure before it occurs. Alerting medical personell before the seizure actually happens. That makes Jasper a SERVICE dog not a therapy dog.

    • Sister of Kellsey

      *yes he is a service dog. The media gets it wrong a lot and calls him a therapy dog. :/

    • Boris

      As a service dog handler with epilepsy, I want folks to know that there is no training program in the world today that can train a dog to
      alert to seizures. Note that I am not saying that dogs cannot alert – some dogs are quite skilled “natural alerters”; others may developstay that skill later – but at present research has not unlocked the magic “”it factor” that dogs hone in on. Although when we speak
      Loosely of “seizure dogs” we may be speaking of two categories – alerters and responders – the responders being far more common- dogs that fetch meds., dial phones, bring help, press stimulators, stay with their downed handler…

    • umrayya

      Alert dogs do not typically alert medical personnel, they alert the handler, or if the handler is a child, they alert responsible adults.

  • Joe

    Something doesn’t seem right about this…the school was initially “gung-ho” and held an assembly welcoming the dog, but a month later are willing to go to court over it? Something else must have happened that isn’t being reported. It doesn’t make sense that the district would drastically change their position and risk an expensive legal fight without a good reason.

    • Kelly Caccamo

      Sherrard Board of Education:

      Please explain to me why you believe Kellsey and Jasper would be better served by your district that has no structure and has taken no action to rectify or handle the illegal actions of the staff? The district already caused Kellsey to have 3 anxiety induced seizures in the short 2 week period she attended Sherrard and made no attempt to fire the staff member at fault nor even address. They simply decided to deny them access on 3 separate occasions. Kellsey was bullied by a teacher and instead of being protected and defended was admonished. This is a clear violation of protecting a child, NO attempt was ever made to rectify the situation by the school. The only attempt was made by the parents who simply asked that Kellsey be removed from art, not be around the art teacher and receive personal protection against the bully. However, instead the bully aka teacher actively pursued Kellsey on multiple occasions without any explainable reason except to solicit a response and threaten to call police for no justifiable reason. There was ABSOLUTELY NO need that she ever be within close proximity of Kellsey. Why would any parent continue to subject their child to an environment that causes their daughter personal harm? Especially when these said individuals failed her multiple times and are still employed? In fact as of last night 1 was even rehired after resigning?

      A person who has Epilepsy has an emergent and immediate need to do everything in their power to prevent falling prey to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). Why would your district want to be a catalyst to seizures with SUDEP potential? It is medically proven and documented that anxiety causes seizures! PAY FOR THE WRONG pay for the private tuition and learn from the mistake and address the internal processes that are in obvious disarray. There were no other request made, simply costs to attend a positive structured environment at Jordan.

      Wouldn’t it be more responsible and humane to pay for the wrong and address the obvious internal issues with the current and obvious incorrect process you have in place to protect the children of the district? Spend taxpayer money on improving processes to ensure that ALL students are never subjected to such an incident or one similar thereof ever again. I would hope that a school board of education cares more about the well being of their students and the taxpayers of the district than they do about defending a case that would costs the district an astronomical amount of money and time that could be better spent ensuring that this NEVER happens to any other child.

      In desperate plea on behalf of ALL children,
      Kelly Caccamo

    • umrayya

      Yes, Joe, something else DID happen, and it happened multiple times. The school board was within its legal rights to remove the dog.

      It’s really a shame that the media are not fulfilling their journalistic responsibility of seeking out, hearing, and reporting all sides.

    • Erin Colleen

      What happened is that Jasper started lunging and threatening the art teacher, who happens to be disabled herself — she is in a wheelchair and has her own service dog. An SD that can’t be controlled does NOT have public access rights.

  • Mary

    This is so sad. My parents moved my little brother into the Sherrard district because at the time they had the best programs for children with disabilities. Now hearing this, I’m glad he is no longer there. My thoughts and prayers go out to this little girl and the district of Sherrard. I hope they start making some better decisions real quick. They’re digging themselves a pretty deep grave…

    • Cindy

      Okay the dog was attacking the Art Teacher. Service dog are there to protect the child… so my question is What was that Art Teacher actions, for the dog to feel he/she needed to protect the child?

      • umrayya

        Service dogs are NOT trained to protect their handlers, whether they are children or adults. In fact, protection training is not acceptable in a service animal.

        Service animals are trained to perform tasks that help mitigate their handlers’ disabilities. In the case of a seizure alert dog, the task consists alerting the handler or some other party to am impending or beginning seizure by performing a specific behavior such as nudging or pawing. There is no protection involved.

    • Douglas Suman

      Nancy you have been miss informed jasper has never been aggressive to any student or teacher, the problem is because a teacher that trains service dogs was upset because it was not one of her dogs! Get your facts straight befor you comment!

    • Kelly Caccamo

      This is the first I’m hearing of this? When did this happen? There was witnesses around Kellsey all the time. LIES LIES LIES …There is no documentation of any such incident!!!!

      • NOT DRINKING THE KOOLAID

        Yes there is documentation Kelly. I would think that the best friend of the parents would know that.

    • Kimm

      The school district is still doing everything they can to help the students, but when parents buy questionably suited and trained dogs to be Service Dogs, and that dog aggresses at a teacher, what are they to do? Under the ADA a dog that is aggressing, can and should be removed as it is a danger not only to the target but also in this case to a very small child, who can not restrain the dog. We aren’t talking just during the art class, they both have to be moving around the school hallways and the dog has aggressed towards the teacher in the hallways. The teacher is in a wheelchair, she is also afforded protection under the ADA, including a safe work place. There has been an incredible amount of inaccurate, and biased by the parents ‘reporting’ on this story, with few actual facts. I am hoping the parents home insurance plan doesn’t realize they are insuring a dog who has aggressed towards a person, or likely they will nullify their home insurance.

  • Gary

    Health and Human Services has jurisdiction when a person with a disability is discriminated against. Their number is: 202-401-4634

  • Connie Cook

    I truly hope that the board that denied her life-saving dog to be in school with her , never has a child or grand child who requires special needs. God created these children and the means for them to live a normal life!

    • carri ortiz

      you’ve said this several times….so what people??? Have a hard time believing if it was “ATTACKING PEOPLE” that it wasn’t mentioned in the article…. just the art teacher? Again, what was the art teacher doing?Upset because they weren’t using one of his service dogs..Service dogs don’t attack for no reason. Perhaps the art teacher was being aggresive?? Don’t tell people not to form an opinion on the article above, said nothing about the dog “attacking people”….cause if it was more “people” would be voicing their opinion other than just you!

    • Wendy

      The dog also reportedly only identifies 50% or fewer of the child’s impending seizures which means that a) it’s not yet adequately trained to do the job it’s supposed to, which b) means it is *not* saving anyone’s life – at least not with anything remotely resembling reliability, which in turn c) means the dog is not yet qualified to *be* a service dog and have public access rights to start with, just based on the fact that it does not actually reliably perform the very most fundamental task it is supposed to.

      As a result, it appears that the dog’s primary task is to comfort the child after she’s had a seizure – which makes it more an emotional support animal than a service dog – and ESAs do *not* have public access rights.

      Attempting to rely on an inadequately-trained dog for what *ought* to be life-saving alerts may actually put the child in *more* danger than not having the dog at all.

      And when said animal is aggressive and reactive to others, that may also mean that needed medical help might not be able to *get* to the child to help her when that help is most needed, further compounding a risk rather than mitigating it.

  • Mom with children in sherrard

    I hope the district pays for this one! Super said there was no other therapy dog at the school? Such a lie…. It’s the art teachers and it’s been in the school, ask the students!

    Thank you Jordan catholic for taking them both in this school year!

    • Llynne

      Nancy –

      Do you have so much time on your hands that you need to defend/redefend your opinion, every time someone voices theirs? We get it. You believe the dog was to blame. Others don’t. The news article doesn’t give us to much information, but one thing is for certain, it no where says anything about an aggressive dog. Why should anyone believe your overly expressed opinion, are you close to the Art Teacher, In the School, Are you a Teacher who works at Sherrard, Were you even there???

    • Wendy

      Amen!

      You’d think that other parents would have more to do with their time, too, than continue to this day to harass the teacher by camping out in her classroom every day. Which somehow the news also fails to report.

  • cindy beal

    maybe they need a different art teacher, especially if that was the only one objecting to the service dog being in class..

    • Sister of Kellsey

      The art teacher has not tried contacting my family once about this! If she was terrified for her life maybe she should have at least emailed my mom it dad. Lol

      • Brenda C.

        Do you know this to be true? Check your facts and make sure your mom isn’t lying to you. The teacher went through the proper channels and asked for multiple meetings through the principal, and the superintendent. It is common fact and knowledge within the school that the art teacher tried to have meetings multiple times with the student’s family.

      • boredhousewivesofsherrardneedjobs

        The public school system has failed this child. Maybe your mother should spend less time trying to scam tax payers out of money and redirect her efforts to teaching you how to form a sentence. You should probably get your G.E.D. and get a job at Wal-Mart. You can help pay for that private school that your mother CHOSE to put your sister in.

      • Michele

        As the parent of a child with severe food allergies we are FORCED to put our children in private school because the public school system will do just about anything to avoid dealing with ADA. Considering the tax dollars we pay and the cost of tuition I have put out a combined expense of $18,000 a year to educate my child. An enormous amount that put severe stain on our financial stability simply because the public school was unwilling to even have an allergy free table in the lunch room. Why should I or anyone be FORCED to pay for a public school system that wants nothing to do with educating our children. The Sherrard school system should be required to forward those tax dollars on to a school that will accomadate this childs needs. I don’t care how you or any one individual feel about the dog. The fact remains that this child has a medical need for this animal whether you like it or not. Apparantly this child and her dog are doing well at another school within the community. So why not settle this quickly and easily and give the tax dollars to Jordan Catholic and be done with it.
        Here is a suggestion for Kellseys parents..make the Sherrard school provide Kellsey with a full time nurse to care for her. That is not a nurse for the school but a private nurse for Kellsey period. That is covered with in the guideline of the ADA. I can guarantee that the tuition at Jordan would be a less expensive option. Unless you have personally dealt with an ADA medical issue you have no idea what you are talking about or the battles that have to be waged daily to keep your child safe, educated and leading as normal a life as possible.

      • Wendy

        There is nothing whatsoever in the ADA requiring a school district to provide a private nurse for any child anywhere, for any reason whatsoever.

        No one questions the child’s medical condition and the usefulness of a service dog for her.

        But the dog is aggressive, and that is specifically and explicitly grounds to *legally* exclude the animal under both the ADA and Section 504.

        The animal must also be under control of the *handler* (or their caretaker) at all times, and if it does something inappropriate, the *handler* must take effective action to control it – or the business, school, whatever is *quite* within its rights to refuse to allow the dog.

        In this case, not only can the child *not* control the dog (she’s only 7, for heavens’ sake, and the dog is bigger than she is!), but several other people had to step in to stop the attacks.

        This is all documented.

        I can’t imagine why any parent would even *allow* their child to go off by herself with a dog that is this poorly trained. It puts her in far more serious danger than her actual medical condition.

        Had those other teachers not been there to step in, not only would the teacher have been injured, but so would the child herself!

        What if that poorly-trained dog sees something across the street he decides to chase? That child would be unable to stop him, and would be dragged out into the path of oncoming cars.

        Allowing a child to be by herself with a dog that is this reactive and poorly trained could actually be considered child neglect and/or abuse. For shame on them!

  • Nancy

    This is a family that is waving their daughter around in public for attention. First of all, the dog WAS NOT DENIED to come to school. It needed to be retrained before coming back to the school because it was ATTACKING PEOPLE! Service dogs and therapy dogs should not cause harm to others!!!!!! The family was not respondent to pleas to get the dog retrained so further action was taken. Get the facts people before forming an opinion. I feel for the little girl and have much compassion and sympathy for her. I hope the best for her and I hope the best for her family because they do not have a case against the school. There are witnesses to the dog attacking people.

    • KatyLou

      Clearly, Nancy, you feel you have information that the rest of the people don’t. It doesn’t say that the dog attacked anyone – but that there was an issue. Where is your information from?

      I’d guess that if the dog attacked, it’s likely the TEACHER did something they shouldn’t have. Service dogs are extensively trained and tested before being allowed to be placed in homes. While that doesn’t mean that service dogs won’t attack, it’s unlikely that it did so without provocation.

      • intheknow

        The dog was not only aggressive towards the teacher but it was also aggressive towards students. Do you want your kid coming home from school with a dog bite? Would you rather the school staff be worried about teaching or worried about an aggressive dog? Some of you people… smh.

      • Kirsten Richards

        Service dogs are SUPPOSED to be extensively trained, but there is no actual oversight to see that they are. Anyone can claim to train service dogs. There is no standard test, no evaluation to determine whether or not the dog measures up or whether or not a program is qualified to train them. So just because someone claims a dog is a service dog does not automatically mean it is well trained or safe.

        I have personally encountered a number of dogs that were claimed to be service dogs, but were clearly not safe enough to be out in public, much less in an elementary school. Wheelchair aggression is not an uncommon issue among pet dogs. It is certainly something that every service dog should be tested and trained for. But yes, there are dogs out there that will simply attack a wheelchair because it is unfamiliar, even if the wheelchair user has done nothing whatever to provoke the dog. Pet dogs are even more likely to attack a service dog than another pet dog because again, it looks different because it’s wearing a vest or harness.

        That the dog was attacking someone makes sense for the school’s sudden change of heart. If not that, then why? What reason would the school have for initially being very welcoming and then suddenly wanting the dog removed? Doesn’t logic indicate something must have happened to change their opinion of the dog?

        For what it is worth, my service dog has been run into by shopping carts, toddlers on wheels, and yes, wheelchairs. He’s been stepped on, tripped over, and had things dropped on him by accident. Accidental encounters like these are cause for the dog to break a stay or heel position, but they are not justification for biting. So whether the dog just randomly attacked the chair (most likely) or was provoked (less likely), either way biting is not an appropriate response from an adequately trained and screened service dog.

      • Christi

        KatyLou,
        There are all kinds of programs for service dogs, and while most are wonderful and produce great service dogs, others do not train to the standards needed to mitigate a disability. That’s why I’m wondering the response from the training program that placed this dog, if they exist.

      • umrayya

        “Service dogs are extensively trained and tested before being allowed to be placed in homes. While that doesn’t mean that service dogs won’t attack, it’s unlikely that it did so without provocation.”

        Service dogs are tested and trained to be unflappable and to focus on their handlers in the face of all kinds of stimuli and provocations. A service dog that reacts aggressively to “provocation” either needs more training or should be retired from public service.

      • Kimm

        Apparently you didn’t hear of the 6 year old child KILLED by another poorly trained service Dog in Fort Campbell. Sadly there is currently a lot of buzz about SD’s and the good they can do, but there is no regulations or accepted standard of training qualifications. There are charlatans all over the place setting them self off as SD training centers, then pawn off poorly trained, temperamentally unsuited rescues for 10,000’s of thousands of dollars, and parents getting sucked into it. Of course those same parents rarely want to admit to their mistakes, thus blame everyone else. It is indeed somewhat suspicious that the mother of the child involved is on the DAD board of directors. Conflict of interest perhaps?

      • Erin Colleen

        The teacher in question is in a wheelchair and Jasper seems to have issues with wheelchairs — he became aggressive towards the chair. That makes him not only untrained and unsuitable but a danger to both the teacher and the students. And as the teacher has a nonprofit that helps train SDs, I highly doubt she was antagonizing the dog. She made several attempts to rectify the situaton.

    • Joe

      Interesting…this would certainly explain the school board’s actions and their abrupt change in action with regards to this dog.

      It would be nice if there was sort of collaboration to this comment, but if you really think about it, what kind of collaboration does this group really have? The parents haven’t commented, only the members of this group have. What makes their version the “right” version, the fact that the a television story was done on it?

  • Alyssa R

    This isn’t right. She needs to have her dog with her. Jordan a much better school by far anyways.

    • Nancy

      The family refused to retrain the dog and it was causing harm to others. So what should one do in that situation? It is much more complicated than you think.

  • Brenda C.

    The facts have not been reported and anyone that is close to this case and kknows all of the details behind it understand that if those details were to be revealed it would reflect quite negatively on the family of the student and the organization that supplied the service dog to them. The student was never denied access. Those that know the truth have remained professional and retained class in this situation by NOT giving in to gossip, lies, and attention getting antics. Their professionalism will prove successful and respected in the long run.

  • Dan

    Our daughter has a service dog. Per ADA law, she cannot be denied access with him at her side unless he is disruptive in some way (barking, aggressive behavior, etc.). He has been trained not to bark and basically ignores others. He focuses primarily on her. Her school has embraced the service dog and we have had no incidents. As owners of a service animal, we have rights, but we also carry responsibility to protect our priveleges under ADA to assure our service animal is well trained and well behaved. We do this through ongoing training every week. Let’s be sure to look at BOTH sides of this story folks!!

    • kimmcamp

      Exactly Dan, and if this dog wasn’t lunging at the teacher who is herself in a wheelchair, then there wouldn’t be a problem. It didn’t achieve a bite in the time it was at the school, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have happened if it had stayed there. There are good SD trainers and there are bad SD trainers, sadly they often look the same to desperate parents.

      • umrayya

        And of course, a service dog does not need to achieve or even intend to bite in order to be legally removed from public premises. A service dog that barks, lunges, growls, or otherwise behaves in an uncontrolled, disruptive manner may legally be removed and barred from access.

    • Wendy

      Very well said, Dan!

      People forget that along with rights *do* come responsibilities, both to others, and to the dog itself.

  • frank

    Hey Nancy, where exactly are you finding this alleged attack information? Cite your sources or stop replying to every single comment. From the information we have the school looks to be in the wrong, if there is more information it should be shared so we can form a proper opinion. As for now my opinion is the school is wrong and some money will be going the kids way. Cite your sources Nancy.

    • Nancy

      I do not have to ‘cite my sources’ because I am not the author of this article. And if I feel like it is necessary to comment on every single comment on this site I will. Thank you. You have that freedom as well.

      • frank

        You wont cite your sources because you have none. You are the author of your replies. How am I to trust your information if you wont let us all know where you got it from? Hope the school district pays big for this, and the art teacher loses their job.

    • C Burkott

      I’m a SD user. The teacher came to a SD board asking what her rights were. She is in a WC herself. The dog reacted at her, lunging and aggressive. It was stated the dog was afraid of rolling things. Well trained SDs are not aggressive.

      • Wendy

        Exactly.

        I’m part of the same group the teacher has sought assistance from, and none of the vile accusations that have been hurled her way are even remotely accurate.

        There are also reports of the dog growling and lunging at carts in the grocery store.

        Wherever the dog came from, it is indisputable that it was simply not adequately trained.

        What I don’t get is why the parents aren’t going after the organization they got this beast from for inadequate training and poor temperament instead of trying to vilify a teacher who is not only trying to defend her own safety but that of every other person in the school as well!

    • umrayya

      Hey, Frank, don’t you find it a bit suspect that the ONLY information in this story comes from the family, their friends, and supporters? Don’t you find it suspect that these so-called “journalists” are broadcasting a story that is 100% biased in favor of one party?

    • Erin Colleen

      A good number of people know that there is more to this story than is being reported, including the fact that Jasper is aggressive towards wheelchairs, which the art teacher uses. It’s impossible to cite a source when the media isn’t publishing BOTH sides of the story, in part because the art teacher has tried to stay above that, and has instead sought guidance from professionals instead of smearing the other party.

  • Caitlin

    Knowing some details of this incident, I applaud the school and the art teacher for handling this privately and with class. And I hope they sue these parents for defamation.

    • Wendy

      I couldn’t agree more, Caitlin. I hope she nails the school district for allowing what is obviously an extremely hostile work environment as well.

    • umrayya

      I hope the family finally takes its head out of the sand and recognizes that for the sake of their daughter’s safety and well-being they need to get this dog help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist who can work with him to overcome his discomfort with the triggers that are bringing on the unacceptable behavior.

      I also hope the ugliness ends for all concerned.

  • Chuck mcClurg

    Nancy, If the dog was in fact ATTACKING people at the school then your correct about having the dog retrained. Was there ever a police
    report made about an attack from this dog? Check it out, if you find one
    put it up for these hard headed people to see.

    A service dog can be a true life saver for someone. If Kellsey needs a dog she should have one 24-7 and be able to take it where ever she goes.

    Another good point no one has brought up is this is a very young girl and a very young looking dog. If a service dog is trained correctly by
    a professional the dog should be fine with other people. The leader
    of that dog stills needs to work with the dog from time to time.

    This is a little girl and a dog and I’m sure people and kids were constantly wanting to pet the dog and crawl all over it.

    A school is a very tough place to have a dog controlled by a child !

    If the School board was smart and few are, they would have asked the
    family to have the dog checked out and maybe retrained or to just get
    a different dog.

    Forget the lawyers. All they want is $$$$$$.

    Think about Kellsey and do what’s right for her safety and well being !

    • Nancy

      You sound like a very intelligent person! Thank you for your comment. Also, no blood drawn but repeated attempts from the dog were made. So, no police report. However, NOBODY should feel uncomfortable or fear for their safety when traversing the school. Including Kellsey and everyone else at the school.

      • Wendy

        The teacher *could* have filed a police report if she had wanted to, despite no blood being drawn, and was in fact encouraged to do just that, but she chose not to in the interest of trying to deescalate the whole situation and handle it privately in a way that would protect the rights and safety of *everyone* – including this child who has been turned into a media pawn by her own parents.

    • Kim

      This was in fact asked of the parents, who instead withdrew her from the public school and put her into a private school. The mother of the student is on the BOD of the training center where the dog came from. They have raised over $10,000 for the dog, and it is not safe in this environment. I myself use a service dog, and have been partnered with her for 6 years, though I am not a wheelchair user, she is completely non-reactive to it, just as she is to loud, wobbly shopping carts, motorized vehicles such as scooters, bicycles, and the list goes on, in fact she is as bomb proof as you can be. I would accept nothing less, the parents should accept nothing less either, that little girl can not physically control that dog when it lunges, barks and aggresses.

  • Diana Wingler

    it IS horrible but it happens. the Apartment complex where I live is denying my son his Registered service Animal even though Pacific Management Inc. takes MILLIONS in Federal and State grants and sunbisidies annually.. it is owned by “Silent Owner” William Cellini, the Chicago Mobster who in 2012 was convicted of Shaking down a famous Hollywood Actor for Millions on behalf of then Gov Rod Blagovich…. he spent less thena yr in jail and used a loophole to keep the business by makin ghis best friend the CEO…. and they do ANYTHING THEY WANT including not allowing us our Registered Service Animal.. my son has asthma attacks inhis sleep and the dog alerts me to this life threatening health issue… without the dog, he has to sleep in the same room as me and no Lawyers will help has I cannot afford to pay upfront for services…. it is UNREAL that when it is FEDERAL LAW and the funds these people receive MANDATE that they OBEY FEDERAL REGULATIONS that they can ignore it and put people’s health, safety, welfare, and lives at risk!!!

    • umrayya

      “the Apartment complex where I live is denying my son his Registered service Animal…”

      There is no such thing as a registered service animal in the United States. There is no official registration or certification at all for service animals, and generally speaking someone who claims to have a “registered” service dog has “registered” the animal with one of several online scam websites that for a fee will issue a fake “certificate of registration”, and for an even bigger fee will sell you a “service dog vest” with their official-looking logo on it.

  • Jen

    There is only one side of the story being told here- schools are VERY good at adhering to the ADA because of debacles just like this happening. The dog had to have been misbehaving in some way for it to be ‘asked to leave’, if that was even what happened. I definitely don’t think that this story was told fairly, mostly to the school and the art teacher but also to that little girl- that dog is supposed to be helping her and saving her life, not attacking people!

    As for ‘citing your sources’ what source do you expect people to cite? The family is definitely not going to say anything about their dog misbehaving! I would love to get a certified service dog trainer from a different organization in there to test him and see what exactly is going on.

  • Brenda C.

    There are plenty of service dog organizations that place, knowingly and unknowingly, dogs with behavior issues. What I would like to know is: was the organization made aware of the dog’s behavior issues so they could properly retrain the dog or replace the dog with one more suitable for public access? If not, why did the family hide this information? If so, why wasn’t proper action taken to retrain or replace the dog?

    A service animal is allowed public access rights with an individual with a disability if it is under control, per the ADA. If an service animal is aggressive, acts aggressive, or is disruptive in any way it CAN be asked to leave as long as the person is still allowed access. This student was NEVER asked to leave, never. But what should a district or school do when the safety of other’s is compromised due to the behavior of a dog and a small child who is potentially unable to keep it under control?

    • Scooter Peterson

      Yes, the program is aware; the mother is a member of its Board of Directors (BoD). She has a conflict of interest as it appears this has been one of the first dogs the program has placed. I suspect they have opted not to attempt retraining because they know the dog should have been washed out.

      • umrayya

        This is so very sad for poor Kellsey, who appears to have been caught in the middle of what is in fact a political situation.

        Shame on her mother for apparently putting the program that failed them both ahead of her daughter’s welfare.

  • Sue

    Dogs especially service dogs do not attack for no reason. Dogs have a sense about a persons inner self just as they can smell and sense when their charge is in danger of a seizure. This is rights issue, if they wont allow dog in school then they need to pay for placement in another school since all children have a right to a safe educational environment. It is not safe without her dog unless they hire trained medical staff too be in classroom with the disabled child at all times. Seizures can be and are deadly! Just saying!

    • Llynne

      I kind of wonder if maybe Kellsey was having a seizure and the dog was trying to get a response from the Teacher etc to alert them to what was going on. It doesn’t really say how the dog services her in school. Perhaps the school was not trained on how to work with Kellsey and the dog regarding her disability. Again, since the school really hasn’t commented, all any of us can do is either make an assumption or throw out our opinions.

      • Wendy

        Lunging, barking, and snapping at people are never taught as means of alerting, Llynne. Those were just misbehavior and aggression, plain and simple.

        If memory serves, the dog was not taught to alert teachers anyways. If it *had* been, the teacher would have been informed of this, and of how the dog would in fact alert.

        A typical alert would be something along the lines of pawing at a person, poking repeatedly with the nose until the person responded, etc. A properly-trained alert would never be mistaken as aggression.

    • Kirsten Richards

      Having a reason does not equate with that reason being there is something wrong with the teacher. Dogs attack when they are temperamentally unsound or aggressive or afraid of the unknown or unfamiliar. Undersocialized dogs are known to attack people in wheelchairs specifically because of the unfamiliarity of the wheelchair, just as they are known to attack guide dogs because of the harnesses they wear.

      Just look at the viral video of the hero cat when her child was attacked completely without provocation in his own driveway. It is not reasonable to simply automatically blame the victim when a dog attacks someone. Some dogs are not safe to be around strangers or around people at all.

      Service work is highly stressful and 99 dogs out of a hundred do not have the temperament to handle that stress. It’s a huge amount of responsibility and a lot of conflicting input for the dog to process. He has to choose to concentrate despite distractions and for most dogs, that is going to be stressful. Some dogs will handle it better than others, but few will handle it well enough to do service work safely and proficiently and without harm to the dog’s own mental health. An overwhelmed dog can show stress through aggressive behavior. It’s called “fight or flight.” An overwhelmed dog should not be forced to do service work. Showing stress means he can’t take it and needs to retire both for his own sake, and for the safety of those around him.

      Do not assume that because someone put the label of “service dog” on this dog that it means it is highly trained or suited for the job. Service dogs SHOULD be highly trained and temperamentally sound but anyone can claim to train a service dog whether they are qualified or not and whether or not the dog is truly adequately trained. Just two years ago a service dog trained by a program murdered a six year old human child because she was not all that people generally expect a service dog to be. This is not something to mess around with. The dog needs to be evaluated by a neutral third party expert, a certified behaviorist. For the safety of everyone involved it is essential that it be determined whether the dog is truly safe or a ticking time bomb.

      It will be easy enough for a certified behaviorist to evaluate the dog to determine whether or not it is safe to be in public when this goes to court and surely that will be one of the things the judge orders. Having worked with service dogs for a lot of years I will tell you this: if this dog did bark or growl at a person for any reason I have serious doubts about his fitness to be in public, and especially in an elementary school with a child-handler.

    • umrayya

      “Dogs especially service dogs do not attack for no reason. Dogs have a sense about a persons inner self…”

      What a load of mythological nonsense. Dogs attack for all kinds of reasons, most of which have exactly nothing whatsoever to do with the victims “inner self”, and everything to do with the dog’s “inner self”.

      Service dogs should be selected and trained based on their ability to handle everything in their environment with aplomb. A service dog that behaves aggressively is not demonstrating anything about a person’s “inner self”, and everything about the lack of proper evaluation and training before it was placed as service dog.

      Or are you suggesting, for example that the dog in that video last week about the “hero cat” – you know, the dog that stalked, took down, grabbed, dragged off and delivered “kill shakes” to the four year old who was saved by his cat – attacked the child because he detected something in that little boy’s “inner self” that told him the kid needed to die?

  • Kirsten Richards

    It doesn’t make sense for the school to be so welcoming at first and then suddenly have a change of heart without something happening to cause the change. So I did some additional research. According to the mother, this dog alerts with 50% accuracy and appears to be mostly for emotional support (calming anxiety). The part left out of the story is that the objection was to the dog attacking a person’s wheelchair. Aside from the fact that the person in the wheelchair also has rights to go about the school unmolested, this kind of behavior puts this dog at a substantially increased risk of biting a child who accidentally trips over him or knocks into him while swinging their feet from a tall chair (which children often do). If he’s startled or upset by the mere presence of a wheelchair that hasn’t even done anything to him, what will he do when a child accidentally provokes him by tripping or dropping a lunch box on him? A service dog is supposed to be temperamentally suited for the ordinary stresses of the work, including the sight of other people with disabilities. The public should reasonably expect the dog to be safe, and apparently this one is not. Before anyone accuses me of being anti-dog or anti-disabled, I also have complex partial seizures and a seizure alert/response dog who is a lot more accurate than this one is reported to be and who does not bite, menace or threaten anyone or anything except the occasional squeaky ball that just really needs a good squeaking.

  • jen

    This school is going down the shit hole if you ask me. I went to this school and thought at time it was great and after hearing this i am ashamed i ever went to this school. I will no longer put my kids in this school ever

  • Jake

    No school would deny a service dog, especially for a child dealing with epilepsy, such as in Kellseys case. There must be a LOT of other information that has not been reported. No school is ignorant enough to just kick out service dogs without a specific reason.

    • umrayya

      Exactly, Jake. Have you noticed that there is anything in this story that did not come from the family, or their friends and supporters? Extreme bias, anyone?

  • Family with two service dogs.

    There is no way a school would just send away a service dog. No one is that heartless. Especially in children dealing with certain ailments, such as in kellseys case. There seems to be a lot of misinformation.

    • umrayya

      There is certainly a lack of journalistic integrity in this reporting. All the information in this story comes from the family or their friends and supporters.

      And yes, there is A LOT of information missing here.

  • Vanya Peterson

    This indeed is unfortunate situation. My now adult son who is has epilepsy and a certified seizure response service dog and who also is employed at a private school (the school is amazing) has on occasion been denied access in the community. IF the dog became aggressive, yes, it is the RESPONSIBILITY of the recipient to remove the dog until it calms down. Yes, we are talking about a child that may not be able to identify when it’s time to remove the dog from the situation but the teacher could have asked the child or another adult to assist her to a quiet place.

    This is a grand opportunity for education not only for the teachers, students, the community as a whole.

    The child deserves to receive her education, the dog needs to be allowed access only if the dog is under control, and everyone needs to take this highly charged emotional situation and bring positive outcomes instead of law suites,

    This can be resolved without bitterness. Why? Because I have been involved with access denied at hospitals, fast food restaurants, etc.

    I do not live in the area but nearby and have lived through this but choose to education versus negative impact.

    My comment is EDUCATION – EDUCATION – EDUCATION AND RESPONSIBILITY!

  • Douglas

    Sherrard is a shithole anyways. I hope they loose funding from the government and get sued also. They deserve everything they have coming to them from all this

  • kat

    What the article also fails to mention is the art teacher is also in a wheelchair because the art teacher being disabled wouldn’t make for a good story. Instead it is the big bad normal teacher that doesn’t like the dog. Not the disabled teacher frightened that her arms or hands may get injured by the dog who has tried to attack her multiple times for nothing more than moving around the building. She shouldnt have to be afraid of how the dog is going to respond to her because of her wheelchair and the dog should not be aggressive to wheelchairs. The school has ever right to exclude the dog until the issue is fully resolved.

    • Wendy

      Thank you for finally mentioning that the art teacher herself is disabled, and uses a wheelchair. I am familiar with this case from her own reports, and the dog *was* attacking both her and lunging at other students, thus causing a hazard to many as well as being generally disruptive.

      It is apparent that the child herself is unable to control the dog, and the parents wouldn’t take responsibility to provide a handler.

      It is equally apprent that the dog simply lacks adequate training not only to do the tasks for which it is charged, but for basic public interaction. Service dogs absolutely must *not* be reacve to others the way this one is, or disruptive. And if they are, it is absolutely within the law to exclude them until and unless the handler brings them under control. Which simply wasn’t happening in this case.

      The teacher is not just in a wheelchair but is paraplegic, meaning she not only encounters this aggressive dog getting literally right in her face, but she also lacks the ability to adequately defend herself from him, not just because she is so close to his level and hampered by her chair, but because she also doesn’t have the use of her legs *at all* to help protect herself.

      The teacher herself has worked hard to try to find a solution that would allow the child to have her dog and yet keep both herself *and all others* in the school safe. She doesn’t want any other children or staff harmed, and this dog is an obvious risk to harm others.

      Having a disability is not a license to ride roughshod over other people’s rights and safety, which is what this child’s parents clearly appear to believe they have the right to do.

      And having a service dog brings with it *responsibilities* as well as rights – and among those are the responsibility to ensure that the dog is in no way a hazard to *anyone* else, and not disruptive to others in its environment.

  • Joe

    After observing these comments and rereading the original story, I think my original observation was correct and something more is going on here.

    Here are the facts from the story. Everything else referenced in the story and comments are opinion and conjecture for as far as we know.

    1. Dog was originally welcomed to school.
    2. Parents pull child from school, apparently because of dog.
    3. Parents pursue legal action against school.
    4. School doesn’t settle, pushes action into courts.

    Obviously something happened between fact 1 & fact 2. The comments to this article me seem to indicate there are differing opinions on what that actually was.

    Because the school board is not settling, the district must feel that whatever happened between fact 1 and 2, the district is in the right. If not, they wouldn’t have allowed fact 4 to occur; they would have settled. I also think it’s safe to assume that, since they are a school district, they are fully aware of ADA laws and would not intentionally ignore them.

    Based on this breakdown, I don’t think it’s fair to jump to the conclusion that the school district is in the wrong here. Until more facts come out (not Internet comments, not opinions from family friends part of an organization), it’s unfair to demonize the school district.

  • Danielle

    This is awful! I can not believe that this is happening, especially in a small town community! Also, I have worked with animals as a vet tech, and if the dog had a problem with the art teacher, there is probably a reason, and if I were the board I would be looking closer at the art teacher. This child can not be denied her rights as a person with disabilities on a whim because the art teacher had an “issue” with the dog. In addition, it does not say that the dog attacked anyone, it says that the art teacher had an incident with the dog. Furthermore, if the school did it’s research in the beginning, before allowing the service animal in the school, they would have had papers, as well as known who had trained the animal, the type of training it received, and how the animal would respond to the child if and when there was an emergency.

    • Kirsten Richards

      They did. School officials observed the situation themselves because it was an ongoing problem, not an individual incident, and determined it was untenable. I heard but cannot confirm that the parents were asked to keep the dog muzzled or get the dog additional training as a condition of it remaining in school but they refused and pulled their daughter out of school instead. Another news article based in part on an interview with the child’s mother talks about the dog being in a crate at the new school, and that’s decidedly odd too–another unexplained and very suspicious hole in the story.

      As far as the dog having to have a reason to go after the teacher, dogs don’t always have reasons that make sense to humans for what they do, and aggression isn’t always provoked by their victim. Surely you’ve seen the viral video clip of the family cat fighting off a dog attacking a toddler who had been doing nothing more provocative than riding a trike in his own driveway, completely unaware of the dog stalking him from behind. Some dogs behave aggressively toward innocent victims. Why assume the teacher did something to harm the dog when no one, anywhere (here or in any other story about the situation) has made any such claim?

      Dogs attacking people in wheelchairs or the wheelchairs themselves is actually a common issue. We in the disability community are aware of it. All of my friends in wheelchairs have numerous stories of random stray dogs attacking their chairs when they did absolutely nothing to provoke it other than existing.

      That only one side of the story is told in this article is very telling. That’s why I looked into it further. I wanted to know why they were asked to remove the dog and that should have been included in this story but was left out. Why?

      The ADA very rightly permits businesses and schools to exclude dogs that behave aggressively from the premises so long as they continue to offer the goods and services available to the person with a disability in the absence of the dog.

    • umrayya

      “I have worked with animals as a vet tech, and if the dog had a problem with the art teacher, there is probably a reason…”

      Yes, there IS a reason. The reason is that this dog appears to be reactive to persons in wheelchairs – a not-uncommon issue with dogs. This as well as other types of triggers should be tested for before the dog is released to the disabled client. In most cases this type of reactivity to triggers can be corrected with desensitization and counter-conditioning, and if it cannot, the dog should not be placed as a service dog. This type of behavior is a risk to the disabled handler even more than it is to the general public.

      Clearly you do not work with a veterinary behaviorist. If you did you would know that reactivity to triggers, not something “bad” the teacher did is the most likely reason for the behavior.

      • Wendy

        Knowing that dogs are often reactive to the unfamiliar isn’t something that requires an animal behaviorist to know. It’s a matter of basic dog training, and *anyone* in the veterinary profession in particular should know this perfectly well.

  • Ivan E

    Very sad when respected news cannels spread incomplete informatiob to make money off the attention

  • Christi

    This is an emotional issue for both sides. Everyone seems to have an opinion and a few facts are “leaking” through, some false, some true? First of all the reporter and ALL concerned need to distinguish if the dog is a service dog or therapy dog. Legally this is a HUGE difference. Therapy dogs are not provided the ADA protection to a person who is disabled as is a service dog. And, we cannot make any assumptions on this REPLY list as few of us know what really happened. I do ask… where is the program that trained this dog, if any? They can be a huge help in solving this. If it is an owner trained, then being open to retraining would probably help. A SERVICE DOG SHOULD NEVER ACT AGGRESSIVELY IN ANY WAY. No exceptions. Best wishes to all.

  • Aleks

    Most of you donot understand the simple concept: why would any school be excited for a new service dog, introduce it to the school, but end up not wanting it. Most of you are not thinking.about the above fact when posting your comments. There definitely a lot of misinformationor maybe misinterpretation. No school would get into this situation without a strong reason. Just be aware of that.

  • Tanya

    It’s sad that WQAD hasn’t given full information regarding the issue. There are many points left out. WQAD, it’d be nice if you actually reported news instead of stories.

  • Derek C.

    VERY well said, Kristen! There is NO excuse for a service dog to act aggressively or be aggressive towards members of the community, no matter what they look like or what kind of a medical device they use (i.e. wheelchair, walker, scooter, etc.). Service dogs should be extensively temperament tested and trained for a significant period of time (1.5 – 2 years) in order to ensure they are desensitized to all type of people, environments, sounds, objects, etc.

    According to previous news reports, this dog was rescued from the shelter in Milan. Perhaps this dog wasn’t given an adequate amount of time to assimilate from shelter life before being evaluated or re-evaluated. According to service dog experts, many times rescue dogs shouldn’t be used as service dogs due to their unfamiliar background, genetics, previous experiences, socialization,etc. and IF they are used, they should only be trained by a professional service dog trainer with EXTENSIVE experience training service dogs (when I say extensive, I mean 10 – 20 years as an expert) AND the dog should be given at least 6 months to a year to be evaluated and conditioned back into “normal” society/life after shelter life. Again, according to news reports, this dog wasn’t in training for very long before being placed.

    So, perhaps this whole issue is because: 1. The school and district were originally VERY welcoming because they thought this was a well-trained, well-behaved dog that would assist this student, 2. Unfortunately the dog started acting aggressively towards the teacher and to the students, 3. The school and district realized this was an issue and tried to confront it, 4. The mother did not like this confrontation and therefore removed her daughter from school resulting in this crazy scenario of misinformation, gossip, and here-say from the supporters of this mother’s group.

    Lastly, a seizure ALERT dog must consistently alert with a novel and identifiable alert behavior over a PERIOD OF TIME for it to be considered an “alerting dog”, since an innate alert can not be trained. The fact that this mother says this dog “alerts” doesn’t make it an alert dog. The fact that she claims it has only accurately alerted twice makes it even less of an “alert dog”.

  • Cara Eckhardt

    I think you are getting the growls at students mixed up. The service dog in training (the art teachers dog) several witnesses has growled at the children. I have asked and asked for it to be removed (notice in training not service dog) I have a letter from the super stating their are no procedures or policies in place for the service dog in training at the school) the art teacher also denies the classroom aide access to the art room.

    • Llynne

      So there are 2 dogs? A service dog for the child, and another dog that goes with the disabled art teacher?

      • Cara Eckhardt

        The disabled art teacher as her own business which is a service dog facility. I have been told by individuals working at the school that she brings her service dog in training to the school. she cages it during class. it growls at some students when they walk by it. she tells them loudly to keep away. She sometimes keeps it in a cage in her car with the hatch open. I have heard cops have been called re the dog in the car so don’t get all crazy about that. they said that was fine. She has a website look it up. I think you can just google service dogs quad cities. Please form your own opinion as is your right as an American.

      • intheknow

        The art teacher does not run a service dog “buisiness”. The art teacher runs a non-profit. She donates time to train dogs and has placed many dogs for QC families. You and all the people smearing her are pathetic.

  • Gale

    This claim lacks credibility. Since schools remain confidential on personal issues, both sides were not represented in this sensationalist journalism. Beyond that, the information is second-hand, and the tone of the accusers’ comments are incendiary. It’s a shame if the accusation was justified, because this low-road method of rectification failed. If the accusation wasn’t justified, a teacher and school district were just publicly defamed, and an innocent child exploited.

  • Amanda

    I’ve suffered seizures since childhood as have millions of others and not needed an animal to keep me safe. The family made a CHOICE to have the animal assist their child and that means that they are responsible for any inconvenience or consequence that brings. The entitled attitudes of this generation of parents needs to end. It’s unfortunate that children sometimes have illnesses or disabilities or diseases, but it doesn’t obligate the whole world to modify to their needs. This child found a school that seems to accept the animal. The parents need to grow up and get over it.

  • Renee

    Nancy, Explain why this dog has no problems at Jordan Catholic? The dog us quiet and obedient. Something smells fishy here and it’s not the dog!

    Maybe this art teacher needs to be removed.

    • puppyjourney

      Renee, the dog is likely fine at Jordan because the dog is wheelchair-aggressive. If none of the teachers at Jordan are in wheelchairs the problem does not manifest.

    • intheknow

      I saw an article on this dog at Jordan and the dog was in a crate. Wonder why it would be confined to a crate?

      • Brenda C.

        Interesting….I saw that too! Why would a working service dog be confined in a crate???? IF it, indeed, is “working” for this child it should be working for her.

        It would be different if it was in training and the crate was to keep the dog contained while still exposing it to sights, sounds, people, etc., that would be perfectly understandable. But this is apparently a working service dog. Maybe it isn’t so “perfect” at Jordan.

      • Sue Happy

        Has anyone even asked the million dollar question? If the dog is trained to alert the parents when the child is getting ready to have a seizure while sleeping why is the dog even needed at school? She is AWAKE the whole time she is there and has an aid with her right?? Service dogs aren’t considered pets and if its only job was that then it should have stayed home. This isn’t show and tell folks…

      • Kirsten Richards

        I saw that article too and also wondered why this dog is being crated now. I have a seizure alert/response dog. Putting my service dog in a crate would significantly impair his ability to alert. It would also completely prevent him from responding during or after a seizure. No clearing of the airway, no calling for help, no assisting me to stand or preventing me from wandering while postictal. Crating a service dog while he is working is not standard procedure because there isn’t much work a dog can do from inside of a closed crate. So why is this dog being crated?

      • intheknow

        so the first dog that is placed by a brand new service dog group is a rescue? An abandoned dog? They have no idea what the history of the dog is. No wonder it is attacking people. Retire it and let the family keep it as a pet.

      • Wendy

        That article also documents and confirms that the mother herself said the dog only alerts appropriately half the time. Alerting twice to four seizures, or alerting even when there *isn’t* a problem, isn’t well-enough trained.

    • intheknow

      Renee, you obviously have an agenda. Maybe if you and your merry band of angry internet trolls took some time to actually make the world a better place, you wouldn’t feel the need to smear somebody who has actually made a positive impact for several local families.

      The dog attacked the art teacher on several occasions, this is a fact. The police were contacted and the incident has been documented, another fact. The mother was asked to bring the dog to a meeting with the superintendent and the art teacher, she declined and VOLUNTARILY enrolled her child along with her aggressive dog at Jordan. This is another fact.

      If the dog had been retrained and didn’t display aggressive behavior, why not meet with the teacher and superintendent? Answer that for me Renee?

      • Renee

        In the know as you call yourself must be too close to the situation to provide judgement. You are the troll trying to change public opinion. I only know of this dog at Jordan where the behavior you reference is not visable or manifested. You appear to know all parties involved and have a definite opinion on it. You also seem to think the world is ignorant of animal behavior and only you and this teacher is an expert. Aggressive dogs don’t change overnight. This dog only has an issue with this teacher or for the sake of your argument when it fits your argument this person or that person. A dog with this kind of behavior would not be retrained so quickly to completely exibit different behavior characteristics in a different school.

        Who I am is a mother with a child who had faced mind blowing behavior in children, teachers and administration due to a disability. Some teachers and administrators have been amazing while others you have to stand back and ask why they are in education in the first place. I have not ADA my child for our own reasons even those she qualifies. If my child went to Sherrard which thankful she does not I would have filed suit against the school for having unnecessary, inessential dogs within the school. Those dogs unless medically necessary do not belong in school to support this teachers side business. We have an epidemic… Yes that is an epidemic of asthma and allergies in this country. This was an irresponsible act on her part.

        These dogs are a health risk and an unknown security risk. Keeping them in her car also shows poor judgment on behalf of the dogs. This teacher appears to be more concerned with her dogs than the children she serves. Kelsey could have skipped Art. If this dog was in another classroom while this teacher was going down the hallway I doubt this dog even knew she was there unless she pursued the child and her dog. I can only assume this teacher caused anxiety in this child to the point of making the dog alert.
        I don’t have any knowledge of this teacher and have question only her motives as they APPEAR to conflict with her educational priorities. She should have known better as a teacher and dog trainer than to bring her dogs into the classroom.

        I’m not afraid of bullies as I see on this thread. Those who think they can bully others into submission. You and Brenda have an odivious relationship on one side of this issue. You quote articles that this dog is now crated. No reference to the article and no knowledge of this truth. You call the sister of Kellsey uneducated and that she should get her GED and go work at WalMart. She is a produce of the Sherrard school system so if this is the outcome of her Sherrard education YOU have pointed out another problem with the school.

        This is a medically necessary dog. There is a doctor who certified that she needs this dog and another doctor verifies that it us a life saving animal. The school has a legal obligation to accomodate the dog.

        Children with medical conditions and disabilities live with a level of worry and anxiety while they learn to handle this disability or condition. The younger the child the more anxiety the condition can produce. In the case of epilepsy I can only imagine how frightening these attacks must be for a young child like Kellsey. Unfortunately these children are too often surrounded by adults who have never had a medical condition that forces them cope with an uneducated, judgemental public. Kellsey is a child and from what I hear from the children at Jordan a shy child.

        So now it’s time for the courts to decide on this matter. We have simply brought out some truths on the matter.

      • intheknow

        I never said any such thing to the “sister of kellsey”. I said I saw an article and the dog was crated. It was a newspaper clipping and I don’t remember who printed it. You are grasping at straws Renee.

      • Renee

        First, the article which clearly states he is sitting in a kennel by her desk which is his area. Any GOOD dog trainer will tell you that a dog needs an area which is his own. He gets up and follows her and is “by her side”. Do you suppose he carried the kennel with him when she does to the pencil sharpener or to Mass or to other classrooms? The students in her class and the students she interacts with in the hallways will tell you that the dog is not kenneled expect during resting periods which are required by law. A working dog required down time just like any other employee. So sorry the dogs behavior isn’t supporting your claim of an aggressive dog. It will be difficult to explain to a judge and/or jury why this dog has a completely different temperament at Jordan around similar circumstances.

        Second, how do you ADA someone. You apply for the Americans with Disabilities. I’m sorry the rest of society does not speak to you superior knowledge and use your superior references. Having dealt with the issue I can speak to it. Have you had to apply or consider applying for ADA?

        I have no vested interest in Sherrard, this family or this student except to support a child who is most likely very isolated by her disease, is being bullied by a school, system and those linked to the school and situation.

        If this teacher supports her outside efforts she would not bring her training dogs to school. I believe a service dog in service trumps a service dog in training. The White Cane law applies to both situations. Kellsey’s need to be alerted to an attacks should take precedence over a a service dog in training.

        You are behaving as bullies and it is no wonder are schools are filled with children of this nature. They learn from their parents. This child was going through all of this in first grade. How young is a first grader? You don’t think she was intimidated by a teacher at this age? Did you expect her to talk back to a teacher?

        Children with life threatening diseases deal with extreme isolation by other children because they are different. Parents can be unkind and add to the isolation because they do not want that child in their home in case they have a seizure. Being as young as Kellsey is she is most likely terrified of the seizures themselves as well as having one in front of classmates. These dogs can offer not just the ability to alert but to stay by the patient during and after the seizure, push a patient to the side if they vomit and clean their mouth is necessary among other things. All this information is from leading organization of service animals. Parents of children with severe disabilities deal with the same isolation and fear of the unknown. There is a fear of losing your child at the next event.

        Your need to continue to post aggressive replies to everyone on this site who has a differing view or knowledge that does not support your claim tells me YOU are too close to the issue to continue to comment.

        Why you don’t just see how the courts rule is bewildering.

      • Kirsten Richards

        “resting periods which are required by law”

        No they aren’t. Name the law.

        “You apply for the Americans with Disabilities. I’m sorry the rest of society does not speak to you superior knowledge and use your superior references. Having dealt with the issue I can speak to it. Have you had to apply or consider applying for ADA?”

        No you don’t. There is no one to apply to. The ADA says people with disabilities have certain rights by virtue of being disabled. Unlike with Social Security Disability, you don’t have to be declared disabled by anyone. You just claim that you are disabled and that you have the rights. It’s a civil law, meaning if someone disputes your claim it goes to court and then you have to prove you are disabled and need the accommodation. But there is no applying beforehand. Obviously you have not done this “applying for ADA” since there is no process by which to do so.

        Do you mean IEP (Individualized Education Program)? That’s under a different law, not the ADA. It’s under IDEA. You don’t really apply for an IEP either. It’s an individualized plan (hence the name) that you work out that is mutually agreeable between you and your child’s school.

        “The White Cane law applies to both situations.”

        A white cane law applies to blind people using a white cane or guide dog (that motorists must give them the right-of-way). I’ve read all of the white cane laws in the US at one time or another and can recall none that apply to service dogs for people with epilepsy. For what it is worth, White Cane laws do not apply to dogs in training, and neither does the ADA. So no, even if it did apply to epilepsy service dogs it would not apply to both situations.

        None of this is about Kelsey. Why try to make it so? It’s people throwing her under the bus trying to make it about her that are harming her. Including her own parents. The issue is whether this specific dog is safe to be used in public and especially is it safe to be around other children, not about whether Kelsey should have a service dog, but whether this specific dog should be inflicted on others when it has shown signs it is not safe. When the problem arose the second school should have done due diligence and had the dog tested by a certified behaviorist to assure THEIR charges were safe. I hope they did.

        My current seizure alert/response dog is safe around the public and around children. I trust that when kids do ordinary things around and to him that kids sometimes tend to do, that he’s not going to take it personally or respond aggressively. Lately he’s been rear-ended a number of times by a toddler in a favorite store who is learning to walk with the aid of a walky-roller. Though she’s managed to sneak up on him a few times and startle him his only response has been to jump upwards a little and then look behind himself. He never assumes he’s under attack, but that something interesting has just happened to investigate. But I’ve also had to retire another service dog who did not tolerate children and ordinary child behavior sufficiently. A child was swinging his legs while sitting on a chair that was too tall for him and accidentally sung his leg into her. He did her no harm, no more than a pat, but it was startling. She responded by snapping at the air in the child’s direction and that was the end of her public access career because I have no right to endanger the public, and especially children, with a dog who might be provoked by ordinary unintentional bumps to bite.

        Kelsey’s parents had the option to mitigate the problems caused by the dog’s inappropriate behavior, behavior inappropriate to a service dog regardless of the age of his partner, and they chose instead to pull her from that school. The school has not said other service dogs would not be welcome. In fact they welcomed this one with open arms initially, until they discovered there was a safety issue.

        Maybe you haven’t lived with a disability, but I do. I’m treated a lot more differently because of the presence of my service dog than because of my disability, which is exactly the same as Kelsey’s (complex partial seizures). If the objective was to not be treated differently by others, then getting a service dog was the opposite of the right choice to make. Having a service dog makes life socially awkward. For some of us, that is a price we are willing to pay for the benefits in other areas.

      • umrayya

        Renee, you and some others here really ought to check your facts before you start writing stuff where others can read it. You might be able to get away with posting contra-factual nonsense if your audience had no experience, and knew nothing about service dogs, service dog law, or training. Unfortunately for you, there are a number of people reading and commenting here who have various levels of experience and expertise in the subjects, and know how ill-informed your comments are.

        Here are a few corrections to some of the more egregious nonsense in your most recent comment:

        “the article which clearly states he is sitting in a kennel by her desk which is his area. Any GOOD dog trainer will tell you that a dog needs an area which is his own.”

        Any GOOD dog trainer will tell you that a dog does not need to be confined in a kennel in order to have his “own area”. A mat on the floor can be helpful in establishing a resting location for the dog, but even that is not necessary. Furthermore, a service dog does not need its “own area” when it is away from home, it needs to be trained to lie down next to its handler when asked to do so, and to remain there until asked to get up.

        “the dog is not kenneled expect during resting periods…”

        And yet, the article clearly states that “While Kellsey is in class, Jasper lays in a kennel next to her desk”, which obviously means that he is kenneled next to her desk while she is in class.

        “A working dog required down time just like any other employee.”

        Service dogs that are outside the home with their handlers do not spend their “down time” in a kennel.

        “how do you ADA someone. You apply for the Americans with Disabilities. I’m sorry the rest of society does not speak to you superior knowledge and use your superior references. Having dealt with the issue I can speak to it. Have you had to apply or consider applying for ADA?”

        It really, really would be better if you took just a few minutes to inform yourself before putting this kind of nonsense in writing in a public place where people can see it. You clearly do not even know what ADA is. A few minutes on Google before you say anything would help you out a lot.

        ADA is not something you can apply for. You cannot “apply for ADA”. You cannot “ADA a child”, or an adult, or a service dog. The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a federal law. You cannot apply for a law.

        “You are behaving as bullies and it is no wonder are schools are filled with children of this nature.”

        Pardon me, but I am not behaving in any way at all with regard to the child Kellsey or her family. I don’t know any of the people involved, and don’t even live in Illinois, and have only been in Chicago once to catch a connecting flight. I am a disabled person who uses a service dog, and who works with a non-profit organization doing legal advocacy and education on behalf of service dog handlers. I am interested in correcting some of the appalling misinformation that some people have posted here.

        I wish the best for Kellsey and her family. If Jasper has behaved in an inappropriate manner for a service dog, then my strongest hope is that the family will obtain additional training to help him overcome his discomfort with whatever has triggered this behavior so that he can accompany and assist Kellsey for the rest of his working life.

  • Brenda C.

    All of these people saying these horrible things about a teacher who has nothing but an exemplary record, in the Sherrard School District AND within the entire QC area, are just making themselves the bullies and bigots.

    The claims that these people are making are absurd and have all been made up AFTER the fact that some legitimately identifiable aggressive behaviors from the dog, towards BOTH children and a teacher, were observed by school employees and students.

    This teacher is being pigeon holed as a “bully” because friends and family of this student are unable to understand and appreciate the intricacy and accuracy that goes into training and placing service dogs.

    The organization that placed this service dog, Disability Assitance Dogs (DAD) out of Davenport, is run by people that have never raised, trained, or placed service dogs before Jasper. EVER. One of them is a mother of a son with a service dog (the service dog was trained and placed by an organization before she ever became a part of DAD). Another one is a man who used to work with an Epilepsy group, but has no experience professionally raising, training or placing service dogs. These facts in and of themselves are a HUGE red flag.

    Let’s stop this horrible, childish banter of he-said-she-said and look at the individuals who were responsible for placing this dog! This teacher was only trying to protect herself and the students that were being growled at by Jasper, she isn’t the one that should be targeted.

    Instead, education for the parents, the service dog organization, and the school district should be a priority so that nothing like this ever has to happen again!

    Remember…those that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. It’s a shameful behavior for so-called adults to be acting this way. Grow up and quit finger pointing and name calling…these are things we have to say to our CHILDREN…we shouldn’t have to say them to adults.

    • Llynne

      Unless you were there during the incident(s), aren’t you also “throwing stones”, so to say.

      • Wendy

        Not with first hand information directly from one of the parties directly involved. Who has backup, who were also directly involved.

  • Sister of Kellsey

    Jasper simply BARKED at the teacher because she purposely wheeled up very quickly on Kellsey and him to try to scare them. He is supposed bark to detect when Kellsey is nervous and/or Having a seizure. Thanks to this teacher Kellsey had several seizures that weak. He did not harm anyone. She does not like Jasper because he came from a different dog organization than the one that she runs. Think about it. He is a dog. He doesn’t need to be retrained if he barks.

    • Kirsten Richards

      Well trained service dogs don’t bark at people. You’re welcome to run at my service dog and he won’t bark. Do a cartwheel over him (it would not be the first time). Whiz past him on a skateboard, roller skates or a bike. Even if you run into him with a shopping cart, wheelchair, rollator or stroller (all of which have happened) he’s not going to bark. He’s not going to growl. He’s not going to bite the wheels. The worst he will do is try to get out of the way to avoid getting run into. That’s it.

      I’m extremely sorry that you and your sister got dragged into this, but unfortunately you’ve been given some misinformation about what is and is not appropriate behavior for a service dog.

      • Sister of Kellsey

        In that case, may I say that the art teacher trains service dogs herself, brings them to school and locks them in a kennel with a blanket over it. Kellsey and Jasper walked into her art room and her dog was barking like crazy (he did not bark back and he stayed right by Kellseys side) The art teacher screamed at Kellsey to get her dog out because he made her dog bark. The principal told the art teacher that she could no longer bring her dogs in training to school. She was furious and has hated Jasper ever since. By the way, Jasper was barked, not because of the art but because he could sense her anxiety ( she has been scared of the teacher after she yelled at her about Jasper)

      • Llynne

        Well trained service dogs won’t bark is a pretty broad statement to make.

        According to Liz Rudy, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) regarding how service dogs react to their companions when in an epileptic event occurs “Dogs have been observed to lick owner’s hands, bark at the owner’s face, or act restless and pace prior to the person’s seizure.

        ” Another article http://www.today.com/health/boys-book-helps-epileptic-kids-get-service-dogs-1B7879449, states that dogs are trained to bark to sound an alarm for when a child is having a seizure.

        “Depending on the type of service a person requires, his dog may or may not be trained to bark in response to certain situations. For example, some service dogs are trained to bark as a way of calling for assistance when their masters are in trouble — they may even be trained to operate a phone and bark into the receiver as a way of calling for help. (http://dogcare.dailypuppy.com/can-service-dogs-bark-1135.html)

        A service dog does not bark, growl or whine.
        ***(However, a service dog may be trained to bark in the case of an emergency effecting the handler)*** (http://www.nh.gov/disability/information/community/serviceanimals.htm)

        Just because your facility or a facility you may know doesn’t train the dogs to bark doesn’t mean its the same across all disabilities. Not all disabled people are the same in regards what they need individually from their service animals.

    • Kelly Morris

      The dog is supposed to bark every time Kellsey gets nervous? Why? Service dogs are not typically trained to bark every time their handlers get nervous. You would end up with a lot of barking in places where it would be disruptive, like at school.

    • umrayya

      “He is supposed bark to detect when Kellsey is nervous and/or Having a seizure.”

      A dog that alerts might be trained to alert to more than one condition, but for each specific condition the alert behavior must be different so that the handler is able to determine what is happening to her or about to happen.

      For example, diabetes alert dogs are often trained to alert to both high and low blood sugar. The alert for each condition is distinct and different from the alert for the other.

      Having the dog bark to alert to any and all conditions is not really acceptable.

      I hope that this all gets straightened out, and you, Kellsey, your family., and Jasper are able to resume your lives. I hope Jasper will get the help he needs to be comfortable around the things that trigger undesirable behaviors, and that he will have a long and successful life as Kellsey’s service dog.

  • Sister of Kellsey

    Nancy, Jasper simply BARKED at the teacher because she purposely wheeled up very quickly on Kellsey and him to try to scare them. He is supposed bark when to detect when Kellsey is nervous and/or
    Having a seizure. Thanks to this teacher Kellsey had several seizures that weak. He did not harm anyone. She does not like Jasper because he came from a different dog organization than the one that she runs. Think about it. He is a dog. He doesn’t need to be retrained if he barks. Never heard my sister’s furry angel growl in my life.

    • Wendy

      The teacher never did any such thing, young lady, and I would suggest that you stop slandering her like this, before you get yourself and your family sued.

  • Sister of Kellsey

    Because the teacher made Jasper scared for his life and almost ruined him, we purchased a wheelchair to wheel around him and there was no issue. He has detected Kellsey’s seizures before and has helped our family so much! Please stop spreading rumors.

  • Renee

    Intheknow. Where did you see this article? The dog does have structured down time during the day since he is a work dog. When the children are in certain classes he has quiet time like your lunch break during the day. How do you know that there are no wheelchairs at Jordan? So now it’s not that the dog is openly aggressive but it’s wheelchair specific? So why not get rid of the wheelchair? Because that would be as absurd as getting rid of the dog! Both are medically necessary!

    On another note.. Not all medical disabilities are equal. Patients can have varying degrees on severely. Just because you specifically don’t need assistance is irrelevant. These people should not be labeled as entitled! They are not slacking off wanting others to take care of them. They didn’t create their disease! They did nothing to deserve this course in life! Shame on anyone insinuating such a thing!

    Here’s an eye opener for everyone. Most schools do not have a school nurse. Medications are required to be locked up in the nurses office. If the nurse is not available the school will call paramedics and wait if a child is in need of life saving medication. Only recently are students allowed to carry albuterol and epi-pens. If took a court battle to get there. Our local school specifically told me they are not liable for any child harmed! They are exempt! Shocked! So the hell was I! Most parents turn themselves upside down and inside out to help their children live normal lives. We are forced to pay for private schools because of an uncaring/ unaccomodating public school system.

    • Kirsten Richards

      It’s not about relative needs and “she needs the dog so it’s okay if it’s dangerous.” A service dog should not be attacking wheelchairs in the first place. There’s no need to choose one person over the other unless one is unreasonably attached to something that is inherently dangerous to others. If the wheelchair had knives on the hubs or something like a Roman chariot the same would apply to the wheelchair. The public (and parents) have a reasonable expectation of safety around both service dogs and wheelchairs and when one or the other demonstrates it is not safe then that which is not safe should be removed. The decision in such a case (direct threat), is based by law (ADA) entirely on safety, not relative need.

      I don’t know for certain what this dog did or didn’t do because I didn’t see it and the stories are conflicting, but IF it did attack a wheelchair, then it doesn’t belong in any school regardless of the child’s desires or needs. Being aggressive is not a requirement of being a service dog. Quite the opposite. If the dog is aggressive and she really needs a service dog, then she needs to get one that is not aggressive, ie a properly screened and trained service dog.

  • Sister of Kellsey

    Jasper needs to be with Kellsey 24/7 so they can have a bond. He can detect her seizures when she is awake and at school, he detected one last week.

    • Llynne

      If I may ask. What is Jasper supposed to do when Kellsey has a seizure. Can you take us through the steps on how Jasper is supposed to alert teachers/staff and what actions the teachers/staff should do or can do for Kellsey when she has one of these events. I guess its hard for many of us to understand, never having been in this position before. Thanks for any response.

    • umrayya

      “He can detect her seizures when she is awake and at school, he detected one last week.”

      We are told that Kellsey can have up to 90 seizures in one day, and he only detected one last week?

  • Chuck mcClurg

    Kellsey is much to young to be able to control a dog if the animal was to
    act up. We are all picking up more details as the reply’s come in.
    Why don’t all of you get together and pick someone to go to the Art
    teacher and find out what her side of this story is.

    People…..( Voters ) You pay the School and trust the teachers to
    give your children a quality education. and some of them do exactly
    that, others are so far to the left they fall over when they walk.

    You have the right to speak with the art teacher and demand answers.

    Hold your employees responsible for what ever their actions may be.

    • Howard

      Chuck they tried that. But instead a few teachers aids and parents felt it necessary to be-little her and sit in her class while she was teaching only to glare at her. As far as I’m concerned she did her part as a teacher looking out for the well being of our kids she went thru the proper channels to report the problem. The art teacher has put up with enough being harassed at her own job.

  • Chuck mcClurg

    This comment may be a little strong and might throw some of you off.
    This dog looks like a very kind animal but that’s not to say the dog
    could not bite or even attack someone even Kellsey.
    I’ve seen a highly trained K-9 dog for no reason turn on he’s trainer,owner after 2 years and the officer had to shot his own dog to
    stop the attack. Painful truth.

    The entire truth needs to come out from the SCHOOL folks.
    Make it happen. fill the meetings and make them tell you what they
    no doubt want you to know.

    • Sammye Darling

      Service dogs are not trained to attack people like some police dogs are. It is a risk they’re willing to take to train aggression in dogs- that’s not the case with service dogs. Thats situation you’re referring to is called redirected aggression.

  • Laura Cichon

    Nancy: where is your evidence to support your claims that this dog attacked the art teacher? Witnesses to this? And why would the art teacher continually seek the child & dog out even when other arrangements were made to avoid said teacher? The child’s teacher & aides went out of their way to avoid art/art teacher. Something doesn’t add up and either you, Nancy are the art teacher or her BFF.

    • puppyjourney

      Where’s *your* evidence, Laura, that anyone ” went out of their way to avoid art/art teacher.” Logic and common sense say that there was a serious incident that the school has found credible enough to stake its financial future on (through its willingness to go to court). By the family’s own admission the dog acted aggressively towards the art teacher (by barking when she came near). If there are witnesses, they are tied to the school and thereby prevented by privacy laws.

      The school is protecting the child to the detriment of it’s own reputation by staying silent. Think about that for a second. Despite the family’s ridiculous claims, this school is STILL PROTECTING THE CHILD. Meanwhile, the family is parading her around in front of the media to be exploited for the payday they are hoping to get.

      • Sister of Kellsey

        I hope you know that we do not get a dime. All we asked was for Sherrard to pay 3 years of her schooling.

      • James

        And why do you feel Sherrard owes you for the tuition? Your parents could have simply meet with the super and the principal and rectified the problem. But THEY chose to pull her out. The school never ever said you couldn’t have the dog there it just needed more training. The media thanks to your organization of kool-aid drinkers have made this out that the school denied you. You denied yourself.

    • Brenda C.

      Laura,

      Where is YOUR evidence that the art teacher was seeking out the student and her dog in a confrontational way?????

      Is an employee of the school not allowed to go down a hallway in order to make a copy, talk to a co-worker, go to the restroom, get a pop out of the pop machine, get a snack in the lounge, put something in a co-worker’s mailbox, etc.???

      How is it that you can infer or assume you know what the art teacher’s intentions where? Did you ASK HER? Did she taunt the child by yelling at her or saying anything to her? Say anything to the dog? Did she try to physically touch the dog or the child? Did she throw anything at the dog?

      If the question to any of these things is no, then once again I ask the question, why couldn’t the teacher be in the hallway of the school she is employed in?

      If the dog is as perfect as he is being said to be, why did the classroom aide, as you suggest, have to try so hard to hide him from this teacher in the school?

      If there was and is nothing wrong with the dog, nobody should have had to worry about keeping him away from the art teacher in the first place and she would have had NOTHING to complain about!

    • NOT DRINKING THE KOOLAID

      Laura, Why in the world did the child and her teacher/teacher aide go out of their way to avoid the art teacher if this was a perfectly normal, well trained service dog? You are admitting there is a problem with this dog without even knowing you are admitting it! DUH! Was the art teacher supposed to stay confined in a certain area so she never encountered this aggressive dog? Could she not move freely about the building in which she was hired to teach? HMMMM, sounds like a violation of the ADA. Remember, the ADA applies to the art teacher as well as the child. YOU cannot pick and choose who gets to be protected by the ADA.

  • Brenda C.

    Why is there documented evidence that the dog growled while in the special education classroom, on two separate occasions, by two separate school officials/employees?

    Why is there reliable anecdotal evidence by classroom teachers and neighbors of the student’s family that the dog repeatedly growls at a neighborhood girl while she rides her bike around Jasper(think wheels)?

    And, the ONLY reason that the art teacher knew that the dog was aggressive towards wheelchairs (or things with wheels) is because she was TOLD this by the student’s classroom teacher. Then it made sense…of course he would be growling, barking and lunging at her…she uses a wheelchair! Up until that point, she assumed he was growling and barking at her because she had dogs/smelled like dogs, etc.

    Guess who told this to the classroom teacher? Mom did. Why is the family withholding this information?

    All of the above is common knowledge between teachers and school employees. Some more than others, though, were willing to sweep it under the rug and downplay the behavior in order to try and be accommodating to the girl and her dog.

    While it was well intentioned, it was negligent and caused a lot of people to be misinformed and unaware of the problem at large. It gave way to a perfect scenario for people be begin assuming things and blaming the wrong person/people for what the dog was doing.

    There is so much information being withheld for anyone to form an accurate opinion that isn’t biased or skewed.

    • Kayla

      Actually Brenda even with the information being withheld I am inclined to side with the schoolboard. If the dog was reactive in ANY way, it needs more training. End of story. That isn’t the school’s responsibility. Every time I take my dog out, people want to run up, -bark- at him, pet him, call for him, throw things at him and otherwise try to distract him. He is not ready for full time public access yet because he can not handle all of these situations yet, and it sounds to me like this dog isn’t either. It needs more training, and this family is going to get absolutely nowhere with a lawsuit because if the dog was reactive at all the school was perfectly within its rights to ask that it be removed.

    • Wendy

      And why are there also reports – by the child’s own sister right in this thread, if memory serves – that after these incidents, the family actually purchased a wheelchair so as to try to train this behavior out of the dog if it never happened.

      If that did indeed happen.

      And why are there also other reports that the mother herself has *finally* actually acknowledged that Jasper *does* indeed have a proble with aggression?

  • Cara Eckhardt

    Thank you to the lady at for Jordan for letting everyone know that she or the school has had no trouble with Jasper.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I agree that there is more to this story. I find it hard to believe that a school district would just ignore ADA guidelines and rules. There must have been some type of incident that has triggered this unfortunate mess. With legal proceedings pending, the school will most likely not comment on this situation. I would suggest the same for some of Kellsey’s family and friends. It is unfortunate that all parties involved have to endure the ridicule and speculation from the community.

  • Renee

    Bottom line is Sherrard school system is no longer wiling to prove a safe educational environment for Kellsey. They are not willing to comply with the laws afforded those individuals by the Americans with Disabilities Act. In return Kellsey parents tax dollars that go into the Sherrard school system should not be given to the Sherrard school. They should be refunded to the family so they can find a school that will provide safe environment for their child. The Sherrard school system expects Kellseys parents to continue to fund their school with their tax dollars while denying their child safe access to the school system. The school needs to forward those tax dollars provided by Kellseys parents to Jordan Catholic. A school where this child and her dog can receive a superior education and a safe one.

    • linda

      The children in this school need education on utility dogs… I imagine the kids were disruptive and not the dog.. the teacher should have had her class under control.. What the teacher did was illegal and she should be arrested.. I hope she wins her suit.. Its hard enough for a child to stand out and for her teacher to behave like this is a form of bullying

      • boredhousewivesofsherrardneedjobs

        If the teacher actually did something illegal I am sure these scam artists would have pressed charges and she would have been arrested. Fortunately nothing she did was wrong. Have fabulous day.

    • Kelly Morris

      The school is willing to provide an education for Kellsey and to allow her to bring a well-trained service dog with her provided that dog behaves appropriately and is not aggressive or disruptive. If the parents want her to be able to take an aggressive, disruptive service dog to school with her, well, the school cannot allow that.

  • Eight grade student at Jordan

    I am an eight grade student at Jordan Catholic. First from seeing the way Jasper acts around people he is a very nice, well-trained, and well-mannered dog. He does everything Kelsey tells him to do and does not bother any of the student of faculty. The comment that he needed to be trained more surprised me the most since Jasper already appears so well-trained. Jasper also attends mass with the rest of us on Thursdays and is well behaved even then. Second, why would you deny anyone the write to bring a medical tool to school. Without Jasper being by Kelsey’s side there would be no warning of a sudden seizure. Jordan has been blessed to have Kelsey as well as Jasper attending our school. As to the comment that Jasper is caged at school. This is false. Jasper is with Kelsey at all times except for P.E. and lunch because he requires breaks throughout the day since he is a work dog.

    • Brenda C.

      As an 8th grader, how often do you see the dog…considering he is paired with a second grader? I am not familiar with Jordan but assume that the 8th graders are in a different wing or part of the school than the primary students. Second, do you see the dog in other confines of the school on a close basis or just from observation every once in awhile? Lastly, have you seen the dog in the presence of someone in a moving wheelchair?

      I think it’s very nice that you gave your opinion but unfortunately there is more to understanding the complex behaviors this dog exhibited from the stimuli of the wheelchair than just observing the dog intermittently.

      • Eighth Grader at Jordan Catholic

        Considering as you said you are not aware of the layout of Jordan Catholic and how small our school is. We see second graders all the time. We see them at mass, we see them when we are going to lunch, we sometimes help their class with P.E. Also all the classses are together when we are waiting for our parents to pick us up. This is a very very hectic time of the day and the dog does not act up or show any sign of aggression towards any of the students. It is true that I am not in the second grade class (as I am an eighth grader), but have friends with siblings in the same homeroom and Kelsey and Jasper. There have been no reports of aggression towards the student or faculty. Considering how often we see Kelsey and Jasper I am probably in a better position than you to comment on the dogs disposition and attitude toward students. We don’t have someone who is in a perminent wheel chair, but I know there are people who come into Jordan in wheel chairs, including a mental disabled individual. All of the classes, inlcuding Kelsey’s, pass by them at one time or another and no aggresion was reported. I probably don’t understand the complex politics of your community or school, but Jasper is a welcome member of ours.

  • kate

    I want to know what that art teacher did to that child to make the dog respond in a negative manner towards that teacher.

  • formerly of the quad cities

    Really? The art teacher was allowed to have dogs’in training’ in the classroom? There is your problem right there. And if the teacher was running her wheelchair at the child the dog should bark. If the teacher has a wheelchair she shouldn’t need a dog in the room for herself. If she needs a service dog plus a wheelchair then common sense would suggest she find another occupation, perhaps a desk job,

      • formerly of the quad cities

        Who is Kelly? Also an art teacher can’t be confined to a desk but needs to move around the room.

    • NOT DRINKING THE KOOLAID

      And common sense would suggest that you are an uneducated, ignorant bigot who has no sensitivity whatsoever so you should not be posting on this site. How dare you make a comment like this about anyone with a disability!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • formerly of the quad cities

        I see by your reply that you are highly intelligent and educated, havea large vocabulary and creative thinking. I deduce that by your name calling and use of exclamation points.
        I said nothing about use of a wheelchair. I stated that an art teacher cannot be confined behind a desk to do their job properly. That is not bigoted.

    • intheknow

      No formerly of the quad cities, your statement saying she should get another job if she needs a service dog and a wheelchair makes you a bigot.

      • formerly of the quad cities

        A bigot is someone who won’t listen to the ideas and opinions of others. That seems to describe you who can only name call because you have no intelligent thoughts or facts. This article is about a little child who needs help not those who comment.

      • intheknow

        You clearly don’t know the meaning of the word bigot. Stop pretending to be the smartest person in the comments section. Anybody can do that on the internet. Well, except for you. You couldn’t be bothered to google a word to learn the definition. Now you look like a lazy bigot.

    • umrayya

      “If the teacher has a wheelchair she shouldn’t need a dog in the room for herself.”

      Wow! So, people in wheelchairs shouldn’t have service dogs? So, if, for example, they drop something, they should pick it up themselves?

      “If she needs a service dog plus a wheelchair then common sense would suggest she find another occupation, perhaps a desk job,”

      Common sense would suggest that requiring someone who needs a service dog plus a wheelchair should not be discriminated against any more than should someone who needs only a service dog or only a wheelchair.

  • Alex

    The power of the internet. I assume that the Art teacher in question and Founder/Head Trainer of a local canine assistance training program are one in the same? This would explains everything for me. This teacher even in a wheelchair, considering her own acknowledgment as an expert in training assistance dogs should have been able to deal with this dog in class. I can see a teacher with little to no experience with animals being shy around animals if confined to a wheelchair but this teacher clearly has experience and in her own words expertise in this area.

    This makes more sense at to why this dog appears to be doing so well at Jordan and apparently not doing well with this teacher/founder of an assistance dog trainer company. It does begs the question…was this teacher doing something specific to insight the animal as she would know what to do to negatively impact the animal due to her expertise.

    Canine Assistance website:

    Seizure Response Service Dogs.

    Seizure Response Service Dogs are trained to perform tasks in response to a person’s seizures from Epilepsy and other conditions that cause seizures. The tasks can be trained for all forms of epilepsy or seizure conditions.

    The tasks that our Seizure Response Service Dogs can be trained to provide.

    •Retrieve an emergency bag, medication, water bottle, or other necessary items needed after a seizure
    •Paw at, lick, bark or perform other behaviors that will help you recover quicker from your seizure
    •Press an emergency alarm or phone that calls 911 if you have a seizure
    •Let someone know you are having a seizure by intensely pawing at them or barking at them
    •Provide peace of mind for parents of children with Epilepsy or seizure disorders by performing all response tasks for their child
    •Help a child to be calm and happy during medical examinations and procedures associated with their disability that are often uncomfortable or cause anxiety
    •Perform interrupting tasks for children that have other behavioral symptoms associated with Epilepsy such as hyperactivity, OCD, or other emotional/behavioral disorders

    • Isaac

      It is always important to remember that as a head trainer of a separate organization the teacher needed to maintain distance- if she actually was jealous like some other people have been accusing her of she WOULD have stepped up and attempted to fix the dog! It is a mark of a good trainer that she didn’t interfere. That more than anything shows that she knew that approaching the dog would be a bad idea, especially without knowing the dog, what training it had been given, and how it was trained. Every dog and every organization is different and if she had interfered with the dog it would have stressed out an already very nervous dog(as evidenced by his barking/growling/lunging at the wheelchair) and stressed out or scared the little girl.

      On top of all that, it was NOT the teacher’s job to train the dog for the little girl: that is the organization’s job and clearly, as they haven’t taken part in this discussion, they seem to understand just how badly they screwed up.

    • Kendall

      Alex, this response of yours is appalling. As a dog trainer who has many years of training both pet dogs and service dogs, it is clear as to how uneducated you are by your response. It was NOT this teacher’s job to manage, or train, or deal with this aggressive dog! She has a job to do and that job is to make sure her students are taught in a safe environment, free from distractions, including aggressive animals.

      How in the world would she be able to appropriately manage this dog while actively lunging, growling and barking at her. She isn’t Ceaser freaking Milan…she can’t wrestle an aggressive dog to the floor and place it into submission; considering she is a wheelchair user and has limited mobility…AND, once again, that was in no place an appropriate thing to do! No matter how good of a trainer one is, you should never interfere with a working dog…or one that SHOULD be working.

      It is clear from you posting the excerpt from her website that she is a VERY professional and experienced trainer. And what this also proves is that she was and is clearly knowledgeable enough to know that this behavior was NOT appropriate and should have been swiftly dealt with by the SD organization.

    • Llynne

      I saw that also. And for all these people out there saying that Service Dogs don’t bark, I think they are only applying to certain disabilities. They aren’t all one in the same. Service Dogs, do bark if they are trained to.

  • TD

    I find a lot of the comments interesting. Partly because I have attended a fundraiser where Jasper attended. There were over 700 people in one area smaller than the school. Jasper had no issues what so ever being around people. Also, the art teacher at the school trains dogs herself. However, the art teacher trains dogs herself and had bring them into the school while she is supposed to be teaching the kids and not working on her side job. The trading she uses on her dogs specifically teach them to be aggressive. At this moment I cannot remember how to spell the training method. If she doesn’t have her dogs inside she leaves them in the car in a crate when she had them. She is unable to bring her dogs back to the school at this moment and for that iv am thankful. Because, if an animal was trained to beaggressiv do you want it around your children? The SERVICE dog had not been trained to be aggressive. And if there was a valid point to the teacher that claims to be so scared of the dog, she is not new to dig issues, she would know to make sure there is records of the aggressiveness. She wouldn’t let it go.

    • Brenda C.

      TD,

      Side job? If the teacher DID have her dog there, which wasn’t every day, the dog was a young dog (puppy) and was not being actively trained while at school with her. Service dogs in training, which is what her puppy is, have to go through a phase of training called exposure and socialization. It is at this time that the dog needs to be exposed to people, environments, sounds, etc. So the dog can be desensitized to them.

      This is exactly what the teacher was doing Ina way that did not affect her job or attention to students. Her puppy was kenneled so that he can be exposed to the kids and their smells, sounds, movements, etc, while being contained and not distracting to teachers. Many people who train service dogs use his method.

      A persons own service dog is not their so called ‘side job’ and its discriminatory towards her as a woman in a wheelchair to proclaim it so. She has every right under the IL white cane act to do so. Look it up!

      Lastly, do you have any idea of the pristine record that teacher has as a dog trainer?! She is HIGHLY regarded as one of, if not THE, most experienced service dog trainers in the area. She has a flawless record and her org has some of the highest standards in the industry. Many many people and parents in the Sherrard area frequent her as loyal obedience customers!

      Have you ever seen one of the dogs that have been placed by her org…? They are beautiful to watch in how obedient and diligent they are in their manners and working ability. The only aggression any of hem have, including her own puppy, is towards the occasional squeaker toy. ;)

      Do you realize you are saying these things about about her and she was just awarded the prestigious THE National Bank Star Award for the work she does with services dogs and people with disabilities? One of the only other people to receive this award is Chand Pegrake, CNN person of the year.

      Does that sound like a person who train blood thirty man eating dogs? Does that sound like somebody that disregards her job or the pride she takes in it?

      To me, it sounds like this is nothing but a sad excuse for needing to place blame in order to deflect from the bigger issue: the family would not work to remedy Jasper’s behavior towards the students and the art teacher.

      • formerly of the quad cities

        If in her second job her aggressive dogs need socialization then she should probably make dog training her first job.

      • Cara Eckhardt

        I don’t believe my child should be teaching the socialization because she is in the classroom. The dog needs to be socialized outside of an area that is funded with my tax dollars. Sorry. She can train it at home. I have no problem with that at all She can bring her own service dog anytime she wishes. I am fine with that.

  • Renee

    I believe the truth is coming out and it appears that in fact there is an agenda on the part of some of the parties. The fact that this teacher is a trainer of therapy dogs but that Jasper is not one of her service animals is at a minimum suspicious. After seeing her web site I would have to say I beleive this is mostly professional jealousy and not a issue of her being afraid of this Black Lab. I believe this is how it will appear to the courts.

    You have a “professional”, “expert”, “award winning” handler as this site and her site references and she had trouble dealing with a trained black lab. A black lab that is showing none of the above mentioned behaviors at his new school, around people with similiar disabilities. Kellsey clearly has this dog in control and both are thriving.

    Several of you have been very cruel to Kellsey, her parents and her sister on this thread. Two of those victims are children. Many of the comments are slanderous and libel. Was this teachers effort to assist the situation one of “get rid of this dog and get one of mine”.

    This teacher has a trained german shepard. Does she feel that her professionally trained dog is not threatening to others? Why was she bring dogs to school for socialization? Did the other children understand the difference between Kellseys dog and the teachers dog. The students at Jordan understood that Jasper is not a pet and that they should simply leave him alone, not pet him or “socialize” with him. This would be just the opposite for a dog being brought to school for socialization. Did Kellseys dog cause a conflict with this teachers ability to bring her dogs into the school for the socialization part of their training. With an service dog in place at the school dog training within her classroom would be in poor taste and judgement.

    I think if you want the truth to come out it may take on a different tone and outcome than expected.

    • Kendall

      Once again, Renee, your speculations are nothing but that; speculations. I’m embarrassed for you because your responses are very uneducated.

      “Socialization”, in the dog training world is not looked at as dogs and people interacting together on a physical basis. Socialization is looked at simply as exposure. In fact, service dogs in training should have limited physical and social contact with members of the public. This way they learn to desensitize to their surroundings so they are not distracted by everyday situations. So, in other words, socialization is defined by a dog’s exposure to as many people, places, things in society with out them being physically interacted with by the people they come into “contact” with.

      The socialization that the teacher was doing with her young dog in training was simply just that: exposure. By having the young dog come to class with her while being in his kennel is a superb opportunity for the perfect kind of exposure, “socialization”, and future service dog needs.

      It is a great way to have the dog be exposed and desensitized to the typical environment he will be working in, while not being distracting to the art teacher’s job or the student’s she teaches.

      Second, do you have any idea how the non-profit service dog world works? It isn’t some big competition where trainers are vying for fame and fortune! LOL, there IS NO competition! These are NON PROFIT entities who are working to assist people with disabilities by providing service dogs to them. Period.

      This teacher would have gained NOTHING by having been a part of the placement process with the student and her dog. Literally nothing!

      In fact, I looked in to this a bit…and did you know that the art teacher never once solicited her “dog training services” to the family of the student? This art teacher had plenty of opportunities to “sell” her organization to this family in order to be “competitive” but she never once solicited or “sold” her organization to them.

      So, where does your argument stand…it doesn’t. It falls flat because this teacher had NO REASON to be anything but supportive. Her only fault in this is that she IS an EXPERT and therefore KNOWS BETTER and know that a service animal should never be aggressive or out of control, especially when she sees that it negatively affects it ability to do a job.

      Lastly, have you EVER been around an aggressive animal????

      How was this teacher who looks to be about 120 pounds, who USES A WHEELCHAIR, supposed to defend herself when an aggressive animal is lunging towards her barking and growling????????

      Was she supposed to use her super natural Ceasar Milan Dog Whisperer abilities and somehow put the dog into a trance????

      It is apparent by her website that she is a smart woman and good dog trainer…she knows how to handle situations like this, otherwise she wouldn’t have the accolades that she does.

      The way to handle these situations is to NOT put yourself at risk of serious injury by interfering with an aggressive animal. It would have also been VERY tragic if this dog pulled the student over…she did the RIGHT thing by not forcing anything with the dog!

      • Renee

        What kind of program are you running in Sherrard? A teacher bringing in her puppies and dogs to a group of young children. An untrained dog even a dog in training in a crate or not should not be present at an elementary school for a variety of reasons. First, the safety of the children in the classroom. They are not there to socialize anyone dogs. Did you get the consent of every parent before exposing these children. Second, the health effects on those with allergies. It is one thing to bring in a service animal to meet the medical needs of a child while balancing the needs of children with allergies but to intentionally expose children to an animal for no reason is irresponsible. Does the Illinois Department of Education know that untrained dogs are being brought into the school to benefit an employee?

        We will see what the courts says. This is a black eye on the Sherrard school system in so many ways.

      • Isaac

        Renee, I think you have a misunderstanding as to what ‘trained’ and ‘untrained’ means. I’ve met several ‘well-trained’ dogs who behave appallingly, and several ‘untrained’ dogs who have the best behavior in the world. Calling a dog untrained does not imply that the dog is dangerous, and calling Jasper trained does not automatically make him safe for the art teacher or the other students! ‘Training’ does not correct temperament, especially ‘training’ done by what is clearly an organization that doesn’t feel the need to correctly temperament test for a $20,000 dog that will be placed with a 7 year old who lives with a life-threatening disability.

        Additionally despite the fact that the only dog brought in by the teacher was her own, personal service dog in training, what do you meaning bringing in ‘untrained’ dogs (by which I think you mean a dog in training) is unnecessary? Service dogs in training need a lot of exposure time to ensure that they are comfortable and confident in strange surroundings, and this kind of training is most effective when done as a puppy and done by an experienced handler. This kind of training is also protected in Illinois under the White Cane Law (to avoid being screeched at for citations, here: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2271&ChapterID=64 , the third paragraph of section 3).

        If Jasper had been brought into the school when he was ‘untrained’/in training I can guarantee the problems would have not gotten this far. His aggression would have been spotted, he would have either have been pulled from the program or retrained (if the organization were a responsible one) and the other students, the art teacher, and most importantly Kellsey would not have been put in danger like they have been.

    • Llynne

      So here’s a question. Are these dogs that the teacher is training, ever going to be paired with children or paired in which its environment would be in a school? I mean we hear that this teacher has a fantastic training program but we don’t know what her dogs are trained for. Are they even trained to be in a school environment and are the able to handle other service dogs? And I agree, unless the dog(s) that the teacher is training are actually her specific service dog for her disability (not just dogs that she is training to be service dogs) then she shouldn’t be “testing” these under-trained animals on the school population, regardless if she’s a trainer or not.

    • intheknow

      “the fact that this teacher is a trainer of therapy dogs but jasper is not one of her service animals is at a minimum suspicious”
      This is ridiculous. The teacher runs a non-profit orginization. She makes no money and therefore there would be no motive for “jealousy”. Nobody that is involved with training service dogs wants or wishes for any dog to fail at it’s training.

      “You have a “professional”, “expert”, “award winning” handler as this site…”
      Jasper is not her legal responsibility to “handle”. If you don’t personally train a dog or have much knowledge of it’s past how are you supposed to deal with it(when it is attacking you)?

      “Several of you have been very cruel to Kellsy in this thread…”
      No several of us have not been cruel to Kellsey. I have not done anything of the sort. I will say after the mother VOLUNTARILY removed her child from Sherrard the workplace for the art teacher became hostile and chilling. Parents harassed her in her own classroom and slandered her in socail media. Just like you, Kelly Caccammo, and several other have in this thread.

      You are right about one thing… it is now up to the courts. The fact that the school is willing to undergo all of this social/media scrutiny and fight a lawsuit should make you think “Maybe there is something they know that I don’t”.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I, as well as most people, are uninformed about the actual events that took place to spark this awful situation. After reading the comments from both sides, I am no closer to getting the truth. Word of mouth is never a reliable source. It seems that I will have to wait until the court proceedings to get some real answers. I understand people want to come to the defense of their friend and/or family and they all have their opinions on what actually happened. I am sure both parties involved feel that they were wronged and are being persecuted, But honestly people, HAVE A LITTLE CLASS! The way that some of you are acting –calling people names, accusing people of lying, just being downright nasty- is deplorable and it makes you look like an idiot! Do I think a young girl should be denied her service dog? Of course not. Do I think that there are other factors involved in the schools decision? Of course. Nothing will be gained by slandering one another on social media.GROW UP! Have a little respect for yourselves, the young girl (Kellsey) and the teacher/school district.

  • QC Lawyer

    Interesting situation here. For what it’s worth, I’ll lend some insight.

    First, if the art teacher has a service dog in training that accompanies her to her place of employment she is protected by the Illinois White Cane Law (775 ILCS 30/1). This gives her rights and protects those rights to bring her service dog in training to work with her.

    I am, of course, not a service dog trainer but I do see the relevance of this law as it applies to this situation. It makes sense that for a working service dog to acquire his skills that successfully mitigate a disability, said service dog would have to be trained in similar environments during his puppy/adolescence so that he is assimilated properly for his performance as a working dog.

    This law would and does protect this teacher and her decision to have her service dog in training with her in her classroom.

    Second, the IDEA says that a school must provide reasonable accommodations to a student with a disability. Generally, a service dog would be considered a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation can also be seen as having a school worker accompany said student to bathroom and other areas where she would be otherwise unattended. It depends specifically on the task(s) the dog is trained to do (per the ADA) and whether or not a human is able to reasonably perform them in place of the dog. If they are, it could be much harder to convince that the dog is more “reasonable” than other accommodations.

    That being said though, the dog was reportedly accepted and welcomed into the school. Therefore the accommodation was made.

    Now, we must consider the ADA. I’m assuming the dog performs a task(s) that directly mitigate the student’s disability while at school, i. e., the dog responds to a seizure she is having by performing a behavior that let’s an adult know (I’m assuming he performs something similar, if not he must be trained to perform a specific task that would assist her while at school, per the ADA).

    If the dog is trained according to the aforementioned, then the school (Or any business) does have the right to ask the dog to be removed or measures taken to have it remain under control if:

    1. The dog is not under control and the handler does not attempt to control it or is unable to.
    2. The dog poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
    3. If the dog or it’s behavior fundamentally alters the goods or services being offered.

    If this dog did, as reported, bark or growl or act aggressively or cause disruptions, it is within the school’s legal rights to ask that the dog be removed or ask that measures be put in place to control the dog, i. e., muzzle the dog, retrain the dog, replace the dog, appoint an adult handler for the dog that is extensively trained on the dog’s commands and how to administer them, etc.

    Accusations that the teacher in question was jealous and thwreforevmade up orvliwd about the dog’s behavior would have to be proven and unless she said this to someone, either verbal or written, it would just remain an opinion and would not hold up in court. In other words, they would have to prove intent by an admittance of the teacher.

    Because of the above, it is my opinion that this is why the school board has chosen to deny the families allegations and demands per the due process proceedings.

  • Katie Mills

    Nancy is probably the actual teacher or family member but won’t state who she really is! Extremely defensive, red flag for me!

  • Katie Mills

    Nancy is probably the teacher or a close family member. She is very defensive, red flag for me. She also has a lot of free time!

    • boredsherrardhousewivesneedtogetjobs

      It’s ok Katie. Alex, Renee,, and eight grader at jordan are all the same person. You can tell by the horrible grammar, spelling, and recycled points they fail to make.

  • Stan Patrickson

    “A non-for-profit organization called Ribbons for Kellsey tells us there was an issue… ”

    This needs to be brought up. Ribbons for Kellsey is not a non-for-profit organization. It’s a corporation. It says so on its website. To be fair, the status is pending, and I have no reason to think it won’t become a not-for-profit organization.

    You might be thinking, “So what? This is semantics.” The point is not the tax status of a local organization. The point is that this is an example of sloppy fact checking by this news organization.

    A two minute google check reveals that this organization is not yet a non-profit. Apparently, this news organization decided to not do a simple fact check and instead just run with what they were told.

    Which begs the questions…

    If WQAD couldn’t be bothered to check this seemingly benign fact, what else didn’t they check?

    If members of Ribbons for Kellsey believe they are part of a non-profit, and that isn’t exactly true, what else do they believe that isn’t exactly true?

  • Concerned Citizen

    Just want to throw out a question. Is it possible that maybe Jasper was not ready to be a service dog? I am not saying that he is not a good dog or has not helped Kelsey in detecting her seizures. I am just saying that maybe he needs to be retrained or trained for a different environment. Is it possible that maybe Sherrard asked the family to have him retrained? Maybe the family feels that they have bonded with Jasper and don’t want to give him up and that is why they have taken their stand? I have no idea, I am just curious. The school will most likely not answer any questions, the news articles are all biased toward the family (human interest story- makes for good audience), facebook- well, you know how that goes….don’t go against the majority opinion or you will be ridiculed and bullied!

  • intheknow

    Formerly, it has already been established that the teacher had her own dog in class. The dog is her own service dog that she is personally training, but not “actively” training because he was in a crate. Let’s try to stay on topic.
    This article is about a young girl being denied service dog access in school(if she was even denied). Why was it allegedly denied? Because the dog acted aggressively towards a teacher. Stop attempting to take attention away from what is the reason all of this is going on. “Look at what the art teacher is doing! Pay no attention to the aggressive dog that was legally removed from school!”
    If you want to veer off topic for a second, maybe we should discuss why it might be hard for the family to admit the dog is at fault? Kellsey’s mother, Brandi McGuire is a sitting board member of D.A.D., the organization that trained the dog.

    Maybe somebody doesn’t wan’t something negative to impact the image of their organization? Why didn’t anybody from D.A.D. try to contact the art teacher after the first two times it showed aggression, let alone the third? Why didn’t Brandi McGuire, a board member of the org that trained this dog attend a meeting with the superintendent and the art teacher to try to work things out? It seems like there was a willingness to work this out by the school and it’s staff member and the mother wanted no part of it.
    This story could have been reported without the attack and attempted smearing of the art teacher by Kelly Caccamo (who is a sitting board member of of ribbons forkellsey) and Cara Eckhardt(who is also a committee member of ribbonsforkelsey). I would think that kind of negativity has no place in an organization like ribbonsforkellsey.

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