Twice this fall, dogs bit students in the Pearl River School district, including one on outside Pearl River Middle School.
Pearl River Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Morgano recently sent out reminders of the district policy regarding animals on school grounds and addressed the issue again at Tuesday's school board meeting.
"I like dogs. I've always had dogs," Morgano said. "I don't bring them to work or on other people's property. We really have an issue with dogs on school property in Pearl River. We will increase our signage. We have to protect kids who are at risk by dogs attacking them.
"No dog is 100 percent trustworthy. As a person who has always had dogs, I can tell you that."
According to the district policy, pets of all kinds are not allowed on school district property in most cases. This includes school buses and athletic fields. The exceptions are:
- Animals under the control of public safety officers with prior approval of the superintendent or designee.
- Animals trained to assist individuals with disabilities, with prior notification to the building principal.
The incident at Pearl River Middle School was earlier this month, with a 14-year-old boy being bitten. Back in September, an 11-year-old boy was bitten while walking on Orangeburg road.
"We had a student bitten and he had to go to the hospital," Morgano said. "Not long ago, we had a student in the community bitten.
"Some day somebody is going to get really bitten and really hurt and we're going to be sorry. This dog thing has to be resolved. It has gone on long enough. The middle school is not a dog park. That's probably the worst area."
Morgano said that owners failing to pick up after their animals on school grounds is also an issue.
"We need everybody's help on this," Morgano said. "We are meeting next week with the dog wardens and Orangetown PD liaison. This is impossible to do alone."