Deaf child's dog banned from Mass. school

Dec. 24, 2006 at 6:54 PM

WORCESTER, Mass., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- When 14-year-old John Cave arrives in the Massachusetts town of Princeton, the deaf teen's new service dog will not be welcome in his new high school.

New York Newsday reported that officials at Princeton's W. Tresper Clarke High School decided to ban the trained Labrador retriever, whose name is Simba, because of state and federal regulations.

Nancy Cave petitioned school officials and an area assemblyman to alter the school's decision based on the theory that the child and dog need the school time to form a cohesive relationship.

"It's a civil rights issue," she explained. "And the most important thing about the relationship between an assistance dog and his disabled partner is bonding. They need to be together 24 hours and seven days a week."

The teenager does receive some hearing benefits from the use of electronic cochlear implants, but still needs the dog in order to appropriately hear both smoke alarms and nearby cars, the paper said.

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