Dad requiring assistance dog claims discrimination over school’s posting of “no dogs’’ allowed signage

A disabled man reliant on an assistance dog for support has lodged a discrimination complaint to Queensland’s Human Rights Commission (QHRC) alleging the school his daughter attended displayed “no-dogs’’ allowed signage and made no provision for an exception for “assistance dogs.’’

The man, who Proctor has opted to identify only as AB, made a complaint to the QHRC in February last year (2020) that he had “been the subject of discrimination on the basis of impairment in the area of administration of State laws and programs in contravention of … (Queensland’s) Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.’’

AB has alleged he was discriminated against because the state school his daughter attended had “no dogs’’ signs which did not say for “except assistance dogs.’’

AB, in correspondence submitted the QHRC, asserts the presence of the signage “caused everyone to look at him’’ when he took his assistance dog to school to collect his daughter each day.

Details of the case have been revealed in a just released Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) decision in which AB failed in a bid to join the school’s principal as a party to his complaint.

QCAT member Samantha Traves, in a five-page written decision, said AB first raised the issue about “no dogs’’ signage on August 31, 2018, and that the school responded by affixing stickers which read “no unauthorised animal’’ allowed entry.

“It appears that at some time between 31 August 2018 and 4 February 2020 stickers ceased to be affixed from two of the three signs at the school,’’ Ms Traves said.

“The State of Queensland submits that it is not known how the stickers from the two signs were removed (if that is, in fact, what occurred) or by whom.

AB’s complaint to the QHRC was made and accepted by the Commission on February 20, last year.

“(AB) describes his complaint to the QHRC as follows,’’ Ms Traves said.

“The school has no dog signs located around. This does not say except assistance dogs. School (sic) was previously emailed about this and signs were corrected. They have now been taken off back to the no dogs (signage). I am deaf and have an assistance dog. This is both offensive and discriminatory.’’

Ms Traves said Queensland’s Department of Education did respond to AB’s complaint on April 3, last year, in a letter that stated “service, support and therapy dogs are welcome’’ at the school.

A decision on the matter has yet to be made.

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