A student teacher who uses a service dog for his epilepsy has had to leave his position early after a Muslim student harassed the animal, and worse. Tyler Hurd needs the dog for his protection and for emergency supplies for first-aid responders, but apparently Technical High School in St Cloud believes that Hurd’s needs are secondary to providing a dog-free zone for its Muslim students. Hurd says he feels threatened by the action, as well he should — because the student threatened to kill the dog:
A St. Cloud State University student in a teacher-training program at Technical High School left the school in late April because he says he feared for the safety of his service dog.
The school district calls it a misunderstanding, and officials there say they hoped Tyler Hurd, a 23-year-old junior from Mahtomedi who aspires to teach special education, would continue his training in the district.
Hurd said a student threatened to kill his service dog named Emmitt. The black lab is trained to protect Hurd when he has seizures. …
Hurd trained at Talahi Community School and Tech. He said his experience at Talahi was good. The Somali students there warmed to the dog and eventually petted him using paper to keep their hands off his fur, Hurd said.
Things didn’t go as well at Tech, Hurd said. Students there taunted his dog, and he finally felt he had to leave after he was told a student made a threat. Hurd met with Lockhart but said he did not feel comfortable continuing.
King Banaian notes the ridiculous nature of the school’s response:
So let’s take a look at this as a case of competing rights. On one side we have a student with a medical disability. One would think that the Americans with Disabilities Act would allow this student to participate to the fullest extent possible in pursuing his goals, which is to teach in special education. To do so, he is supposed to train in both elementary and secondary school settings. (The article notes that Hurd had no such problems with Somali students at his elementary school assignment.)
On the other side, we have a student at Tech HS whose faith considers dogs unclean and is asserting his right to education in an institution without dogs. This not only affects student teachers; any student with a sight or hearing disability may use a dog for assistance and might want to also attend Tech HS. …
But when rights collide, as they did here, whose rights did they choose to uphold first?
That’s easy. They upheld the rights of the side that threatened capitulation or violence. Instead of expelling the student for his threat and making an example of him, they chose to coddle the student and chase the teacher out of his job. Afterwards, they issued the normal multi-culti mewlings of “misunderstanding”, “growth process”, and emphasizing respect for different cultures.
I’ve got a suggestion: how about teaching that respect to the people who issue threats, instead of their victims? Which person needed an object lesson in respect more, the Somali student or Tyler Hurd?
The First Mate used to use guide dogs here and in California. On more than one occasion, she initially got refused cab service when using Cory. Only after she explained that the law required them to give her access did the cabbies relent.
We have laws in this country, decided on by democratically-elected representatives. If Muslims don’t like these access laws, then let them elect representatives that will reverse them, or failing that, go back to Somalia where violence trumps the law and they would be more comfortable. Shame, shame on Technical High School for buckling under to thugs and abandoning their responsibilities in such a cowardly manner.
Update: When I first read the article and King’s post, I had the impression that the school got complaints from the Muslim students, but the story doesn’t explicitly say that. I’ve reworded the first sentence, although it’s still entirely possible that they complained to the administration. If they didn’t, it makes the administration’s move even worse.