Students lobby to keep their dog at Liberty Middle School

WEST FARGO, ND (Valley News Live) – Students and teachers say Taz the dog at Liberty Middle School in West Fargo has been removed from campus. They say the superintendent told them on Friday that Taz couldn’t be at school, but they say no reason was given as to why.

The students tell Valley News Live they printed flyers saying ‘Justice for Taz’ and used the Friday lunch hour to collect more than 500 signatures. They even started a Facebook group. Students holding “Justice for Taz” signs were also seen in West Fargo during the Sheyenne football game Friday night.

An anonymous whistleblower tells us:

Taz has been in school for a year and a half and is ready to test as an emotional support dog. He is a hypoallergenic and trained dog. The former pupils, who are now in Sheyenne, came after school on Friday to say goodbye. They shared stories about the benefits of Taz for their learning and don’t understand this decision.

There was a student at Liberty who was hit by a car last year: Taz helped give them the confidence to walk. A student spent 30 minutes crying and snuggling up to Taz as a comfort dog today, and left feeling better. When a student starts struggling In class: Taz gets up and silently approaches the student for support.

Taz is the welcoming committee for students in the morning, sends them home with a little love, greets all the families who come for sporting events, and brings a smile we sometimes didn’t know we needed. Students learn compassion and responsibility with Taz, as well as social-emotional learning. Students of all grade levels. He is an essential part of Liberty Middle School and we do not understand this decision. School dogs have been proven to increase literacy, increase school attendance, reduce learner and teacher anxiety, and help build relationships. Losing Taz will be a heartache that all of our students will feel at a time when we all need that extra bit of support.

We have contacted West Fargo Schools and are awaiting a response.