NEWS: Where’s Wayne? Without Official Training, School’s Favorite Dog Not Allowed On Campus

Following the addition of the district policy to Free State’s handbook, Wayne, the beloved dog, is no longer allowed in Free State until he has completed the necessary therapy animal training.

Stella Mosier

Two days into the school year, students were shocked to learn that Wayne, security guard Demetrius “Dee” Kemp ’s beloved dog, is no longer allowed inside the school.

Previously, Wayne had been allowed to come to school with Kemp every day since the beginning of the last school year. While there had never been any concerns about Wayne, the Board of Education [BOE] reworked Free State’s handbook at the beginning of the year, adding a new policy which states staff may not bring dogs to school unless they are registered through a therapy dog organization recognized by the American Kennel Club. Since Wayne has not completed this training, he is not allowed to return until he meets the BOE’s new guidelines.

“It sucks because I know what joys and excitement he brought to this school,” said Kemp. “He was more of a morale booster for students, staff, and administration alike. Wayne always knew when someone was sad and he would go to that person and cheer them up.”

Wayne even had a routine of stopping by different classrooms each day to visit his favorite teachers and students.  Social studies teacher Wendy Haas’s room was one of his frequent visits.

“Wayne was a unifier,” Haas said. “There are kids all over the building that look forward to seeing Wayne every day. And when Wayne would come to visit our class, everyone would stop what they were doing and we’d say ‘hi’ to Wayne, and it was a really important culture building experience in our class.”

Although Wayne’s absence is very disappointing, he is hoping to return to the school as soon as he has fully completed his training. Kemp is currently waiting to receive Wayne’s test date.

“We want to make sure that we’ve followed all the proper procedures and that we’re in line with the policy,” Principle Amy McAnarney said. “And that’s not just for Wayne, it’s for any… service animal or therapy animal in the building. We just want to make sure we take things safely and cautiously.”