Deafblind Teenager Molly Watt Barred From School's Lunch Hall Because Of Guide Dog

Deafblind Teenager Put In 'Isolation' After School Bans Guide Dog

A deaf teenager who is also slowly going blind has stopped going to school after being isolated from her friends when she was banned from the lunch hall because of her guide dog.

Molly Watt, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, was forced to have lunch on her own because a fellow pupil is allergic to her black Labrador Unis, the Maidenhead Advertiser reported.

The 17-year-old, who said she is suffering from depression over the incident, has been told by her GP she could not return to Mary Hare School for the Deaf in Newbury because of the stress it is causing her.

According to the local paper, the dog is banned from the dining hall as there is another pupil who could have an anaphylactic allergic reaction if he came into contact with the guide dog. But, according to Molly's mother, Jane, there has been no up-to-date medical evidence to support the claim.

"She doesn't deserve what is happening to her," the 46-year-old said. "They are totally ignoring Molly's needs as a human being."

Principal Tony Shaw said he and the school had been misrepresented.

He told the Advertiser "everybody involved wished the situation could be different".

"It is heartbreaking for them and us but Mary Hare has not been the arbiter of the situation."

The Maidenhead mother said Molly's suggestion to compromise by having half of the week in the lunch hall was dismissed. A petition to champion Molly's cause has already been signed by more than a thousand people.

Molly was named Young Deafblind Person of the Year 2010 by the charity Sense and was nominated to carry the Olympic flame. The teenager, who has Usher Syndrom type two, has been "deprived of her A-levels", according to her mother. Molly was born deaf and diagnosed with a progressive eye condition at age 12 which causes night and glare blindness and tunnel vision.

On her website, she describes her dog as "my eyes, my safety, my best friend" and her blindness as "my most hated disability, the condition that has deprived me of the most".

"I feel terrible to confess the isolation I felt at school since having my gorgeous friend [Unis] led me to consider handing her back to Guidedogs as I struggled with being singled out the way I was", she continues.

"I can do nothing about my blindness but I can stand up for my rights and I have found an inner strength to do so."

CORRECTION: The article previously stated Molly was blind and slowly going deaf but this has now been corrected to deaf and slowly going blind.


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