UPDATE: Deal Reached in Service Dog Dispute in Athens County

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 9/5/13 @ 10 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - The family of an autistic first-grader in Ohio who uses a service dog has reached a deal over attending a different school because her special-education teacher is allergic to dog dander.

Six-year-old Shyanna Gretz will attend the Beacon School, a school operated by the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities and designed for students with special needs.

The Associated Press reports that Gretz will attend the school this year once paperwork is finalized. The Beacon School is next to the elementary school the girl should have attended.

The girl's mother, Charla Gretz, said she was pleased with the resolution, especially since the issue over the teacher's allergy didn't come up until the first day of school last month.

ORIGINAL STORY 8/23/13 @ 10:30 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - The mother of an autistic first-grader in Athens County who uses a service dog is challenging a decision that the girl must change schools because her teacher is allergic to dog dander.

Athens superintendent Carl Martin calls it a reasonable solution to balance the rights of the teacher and the student.

But the girl's mother, Charla Gretz, says it would disturb her 6-year-old daughter. She also says the bus ride would be significantly longer from their home in The Plains. Martin disputes that.

An attorney with the Ohio School Boards Association says schools are legally obligated to accommodate the student and teacher. She says that might be harder for a smaller district like Athens with fewer special-education teachers.

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