A Minnesota grad student has had to leave a teacher-training special-ed program due to intimidation — specifically, a threat to kill his dog.
The St. Cloud Times reports that the student, Tyler Hurd, 23, was prone to seizures due to a childhood injury. He thus attended school with his service dog, a black lab called Emmit, who is trained to protect Hurd during siezures and carries a pouch which contains items that would be of help to passersby who stop to assist Hurd during such episodes.
The teacher-training program required Hurd to do field work at local high schools. At Technical High School, many of the students are immigrants from Somalia. “The Muslim faith, which is the dominant faith of Somali immigrants,” reports the newspaper, “forbids the touching of dogs.” As a result, there was much taunting and, finally, one student threatened to kill the dog.
Hurd feared for himself and the dog, and complained. The university resolved … to waive Hurd’s remaining training hours. A school official, the paper recounts, opined that it was “important to respect different cultures and the rights of disabled students. ‘I think this is part of the growth process when we become more diverse,’” added the official.