A mother and father refuse to send their daughter back to school unless they get rid of the school dog.
Yana Ivanyk, six, is in second grade at Mead School in Tunbridge Wells and has been diagnosed with an allergy to animal dander.
Her parents, Mark Gordon, 53, and Irena Ivanyk, 44, have asked the school to remove the pet as it is seriously affecting their daughter’s health.
Yana’s mother, a property developer, has been teaching her at home since September 16.
Speaking to KentLive, Irena said, “We just didn’t know at first that it was an allergic reaction to animals,” but that for a while she suspected that something was wrong with her daughter’s health.
“She had something very similar to a virus and it kept happening, we couldn’t understand why. She was home most of the time because she was sick, but it kept repeating.”
While attending a parents’ evening at school, Irena noticed a dog named Mitzi in a nearby class and became worried.
She says she was not previously informed that the school had a dog.
KentLive received a letter from a family doctor confirming that Yana has a dog and cat allergy and will remain on an inhaler for another four months.
Yana’s parents told how Yana “suffocated and suffocated” and became very ill on the night of September 16.
They said it was “perfectly clear” that the symptoms she was showing were the same as the previous diagnosis of the allergy.
“It was very hard for me to watch and it was just so hard for the whole family, we were so stressed and worried,” said Irena.
While Yana avoided direct contact with the dog during the day, tiny dog hairs getting into the air could potentially trigger her symptoms. This has led her parents to decide to keep her out of school while the dog is still there.
Irena said her daughter doesn’t fully understand why she is being kept out of school.
“I’m forced to give her home schooling, but it’s not about me, she misses being with other children so much.
“I don’t have the words to explain why she can’t go back,” she said.
The school responded to the parents and put forward plans to reduce the risk of contact between Yana and Mitzi.
The plan called for children to disinfect their hands after touching Mitzi and ensure that Yana got the medication she needed at school.
However, Yana’s parents don’t believe their daughter will be safe in school until the dog is removed.
“I don’t want my daughter to have to rely on an inhaler for the rest of her life,” said Irena.
“She loves to study and she really loves being part of the school, she loves being with the other kids.
“Your airways become inflamed when it’s around animals, so the dog won’t be safe until the dog is removed.”
Speaking to KentLive, a Mead School spokesman said, “I’m afraid we cannot comment on the ongoing parenting discussions.
“However, The Mead is committed to providing all of its students with a safe, happy, and enriching educational experience and we are working with the family to resolve this issue.”
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