Public school board reviewing animals in the classroom

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The Lambton-Kent District School Board is reviewing its policy surrounding service animals in the classroom.

The refresh is part of an Ontario-wide mandate to improve access to supports across the province.

Superintendent of Education Angie Barrese said they’ll need to expand on their policy to include animals other than dogs.

“We’ll be looking at the policy program memorandum that will be provided to us from the ministry of education just to ensure that we’re compliant with the definitions that they have around service animals,” said Barrese. “And, of course, we’ll review all of the components to ensure that we’re compliant with updating our procedure to match what’s expected from the ministry of education.”

Barrese said a service animal could be any animal that supports a student with a physical or mental challenge.

She said the board will have to be careful to balance the needs of the students.

For example, if a student has a guide dog and another is allergic, they’ll have to make special arrangements.