In the UK, a mom has slammed the school of her six-year-old daughter after she got allergic to the school’s adopted pet dog.
Irena Ivanyk, 44, and Mark Gordon, 53, claim they were forced to pull their daughter Yana,6, out of The Mead School in Tunbridge after the school refused to get rid of the animal.
The pair said they were left puzzled after Yana came home from school struggling to breathe but was later diagnosed with an unexplained allergy. Since September 16, Yana’s mother, who is a property developer, was left with no choice but to home-schooled her.
Speaking to KentLive, Irena said: “We just didn’t realize this was an allergic reaction to animals at the start”, but that she suspected for a while that something was wrong with her daughter’s health.
“She started having something very similar to a virus and it just kept on happening, we couldn’t understand why. She was at home a lot of the time because she was unwell, but it just kept on recurring,” she added.
Irena said her little one’s diagnosis became clear after she attended the parents’ meeting and spotted the dog in the corridor, she claims she was not told the school had adopted a dog, Mitzi.
Yana has since been diagnosed with allergy to animal hair and her parents have asked the school to remove the pet, as it’s having a severe impact on their daughter’s health.
Irena says: “Her airways become inflamed when she is around animals so until the dog is removed it is not safe for her. She loves to study and really does love being part of the school, she loves being around the other children. But I don’t want my daughter to have to depend on an inhaler for the rest of her life.”
Irena says she wasn’t informed about the school’s decision to get a dog, which they believe to help teach children values like empathy, respect, and kindness.
But she made the complaint at a parents’ meeting earlier this year.
By then, Yana had shown symptoms of the allergy and was eventually diagnosed by her GP when she started “choking and suffocating” at home.Irena and her partner insist the reaction shared the same symptoms as those when she was previously diagnosed with the allergy.
KentLive saw a letter from a doctor that confirmed that Yana suffers from an allergy to dogs and cats and will remain on an inhaler for another four months.
Irena said: “It was very hard for me to watch and it was just so difficult for all the family, we were so stressed and worried”.
While Yana has avoided direct contact with the dog during the day, tiny dog hairs that become airborne could potentially trigger her symptoms.
This has led to her parents making the decision to keep her away from the school while the dog is still there. Irena said her daughter doesn’t quite understand why she’s being kept from school.
Irena says: “I’m forced to home school her but it’s not about me, she’s so badly missing being with other children. I don’t have the words to explain to her why she can’t go back.”
In the school’s response to Irena’s claim, they said they had made plans to reduce the chance of Yana and Mitzi the dog being in the same room at one time.
They also claim that all children must sanitize their hands after coming into contact with Mitzi and they would require Yana to bring all required medication to school.
However, Yana’s parents still don’t feel their daughter will be safe at school until the dog is removed.
A spokesperson for The Mead school said: “I’m afraid that we are unable to comment on ongoing parental conversations. However, The Mead is committed to providing a safe, happy, and enriching educational experience for all its pupils and we are working with the family to resolve this matter.”