Service Dogs and Reporting

From iStockphoto website

From iStockphoto website

Posted by Malinda Jorgensen

    Last week I read an online Des Moines Register article about a lawsuit against Drake University Law School. The article was about a lady who was training a service dog, and she filed a lawsuit against Drake University Law School. This person felt like Drake University officials created a hostile learning environment when she brought in her service dog that she was training to her classes.

     As I read the article, I began to think that the article seemed to favor one side of the issue-the service dog’s side. All the quotes are by people who are supporting the lady’s cause of shining a spotlight on the issues that people with service dogs face.  I had to wonder what was Drake’s side of the issue, because pretty much nowhere in the article someone from Drake says something about the case. No “Drake University has declined to comment” either.  The quotes leave me questioning my education of quotes from J54. I thought we were supposed to get a variety of quotes from a variety of people? Anyhow, this article is not a good example of variety of quotes.

    The article also did not include all the details that I wanted it to include, so it left me with questions. I know not every article have all the details, but there are a few important details that the Des Moines Register article should have included. Here are the few questions it created:

1. How did officials create a hostile environment? Actions can be interpreted in many different ways. They could have been cautious and didn’t mean to appear hostile.

2. What was the dog training for?  Blind people? Deaf people? PTSD? It doesn’t say. Different service dogs are being trained for different disabilities.

    3. Did she ever talk to the disability coordinator about training a service dog in class? The disability coordinator could have told the people in the law school that she was training a service dog, and the disability coordinator could have educated people if they didn’t know what the dog was for.

    4. Did she even explain to the university officials about what she was doing? It doesn’t say that anywhere in the article, and it would have made a huge difference.

    Now I am not against people who actually need service dogs having them in classes or people who wants to train them in classes. I’m just questioning the journalistic abilities here.  What do you feel about this article (link is provided below)? Do you think it is right to have an one sided article?

Here is the Des Moines Register article link:
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130912/NEWS01/309120071/Service-dogs-trainers-seek-remedy-for-denied-rights?News

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One response to “Service Dogs and Reporting

  1. I totally agree with you. It seems a little ridiculous that they haven’t gone into detail about WHY she felt like Drake wasn’t being understanding or what they said to make her feel that way. The article also mentions that the owner of the dog wasn’t even disabled. I feel that the article focuses more on explaining the laws and regulations that are in place in Iowa in regards to service dogs, than it does on the issue the lady had with Drake. There is a lot of missing bits and pieces in this article and I personally would love to see more details about this issue. I think this is a problem that could be solved with better and more thorough reporting.

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