A deaf and blind teenager is refusing to go to school after teachers banned her guide dog from the dining hall.
Molly Watt, 17, says she was left to eat lunch alone in a separate room because another pupil who uses the canteen is allergic to the dog.
So what we have here is a clash of disabilities. It should be easy to resolve, no, given that both parties are aware of the issues and already sympathetic to reasonable adjustment?
Ah. I see. No:
Her mother Jane, 46, said Molly is ‘besotted’ with her dog and becomes ‘distressed’ when her companion is not by her side.
Well, I’m sure the other child would become ‘distressed’ by going into anaphylactic shock…
‘She should be able to socialise with friends at lunchtime like everybody else.
‘She was shaking, having panic attacks and was unable to sleep after being asked to leave Unis in a sideroom. Her doctor has signed her off sick.
‘My main concern is Molly’s well-being and education. She doesn’t deserve what is happening to her.’
Nor does the other kid. Should he be isolated instead?
‘The alternative arrangements the school has put in place are not good enough.’
Well, do tell us what would be, then? Or are you too busy going to the papers?
The school, to their credit, aren’t about to take this lying down:
‘Mary Hare has an equal duty of care to both students and a duty to ensure that any adjustments affecting the use of a guide dog are reasonable and proportionate.‘The solution has involved re-timetabling and changes of class locations to avoid use of the same rooms and two restrictions on the movements of the guide dog.
‘These restrictions involve the hall used for weekly assembly and the main dining hall.
‘The expert medical advice has been that if the dog enters either room, the other pupil cannot use them.’
So, just what are they supposed to do? The irresistible force has met the immovable object, and one side will have to give ground to the other.
I expect the other kid’s parents are equally protective of their child’s rights not to be endangered. That they haven’t rushed to print (yet) makes me think a lot better of them…
A petition called Justice 4 Deafblind guide-dog Owner Molly Watt has been signed by more than a thousand people, including former alumni.
Oh, FFS! And here’s BookFace and Twatter, pouring oil on the fire, just for good measure!
And I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that there’s a hierarchy of disabilities, and infighting and disagreement therein, but it does..