School asks parents to leave dogs at home after one bites student

Published: 2/26/2009 12:00 AM

School officials are reminding parents that dogs aren't allowed near Arlington Heights schools after one student was bitten on the cheek this month.

The 9-year-old boy was bitten after school on Feb 13, said Kevin Dwyer, principal of Westgate Elementary School.

"This was a dog the student was familiar with, a dog the student had seen almost every day," he said. "The student just stepped on a sensitive part of the dog's foot. The dog just reacted."

The student was leaning over to pet the dog when he stepped on the dog's foot and newly clipped toenails, Dwyer said.

The superficial wound caused no bleeding and the student was treated in the school's nurse's office. He wasn't taken to the hospital, Dwyer said.

Dogs have been prohibited from all Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 property since 2006. However Westgate officials are now asking parents not to bring dogs near the school including public areas like sidewalks, Dwyer said. An automatic phone call about the policy change went out to all Westgate parents this week.

"Sometimes dogs aren't friendly with other dogs, some students are afraid of dogs, so to be safe we don't want dogs around during school arrival and dismissal times," he said. "I don't anticipate this being a problem. So far parents have been very understanding."

Typically "a handful" of parents would bring dogs with them to pick up their children, Dwyer said.

The dog that bit the student was either a Golden retriever or a Labrador, Dwyer said.

After the student was bit, school officials called the student's mother and also made sure the dog's shots were up to date.

"She was alarmed and had every right to be; I'm a parent and I'd be concerned too," Dwyer said. "But we were very forthcoming about what happened. It's behind us and we're moving forward."