ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Becca Droeshout, 16, and her dog Lily could soon be going to class.
Currently, Becca, who suffers severe anxiety, was segregated from other students, only going to school after the other kids have gone home.
But following a rally Tuesday, Becca's parents met with school board officials to see what could be done to get Becca's service dog , Lily, to accompany her to regular classes at Eden High School.
Lily is trained to offer soothing responses and nudges to help quell the bad feelings.
The District School Board of Niagara had previously said Lily would only be allowed in class after passing a "school access" test.
During Tuesday's meeting, everyone agreed to work together to try to make that happen as soon as possible.
"I'm happy with this," mom Lisa Droeshout said after the meeting. "We're finally going to get Becca back to regular school, and she'll get caught up."
The agreement came hours after a rally was held to support Becca's family in their efforts.
Becca was the centrepiece of the gathering of 20 people outside DSBN headquarters. The teen was seen curled over her service dog Lily in a heartfelt embrace.
Lily whined softly, wagging her tail intently and responding to the teenager's every move.
While the DSBN was sympathetic to Becca's need for Lily in school, it said more steps were needed to ensure the dog could go to class.
For the time being, Becca's been segregated from other students until the board is satisfied Lily meets proper qualifications for regular school access.
"I just want to go back to school fully, just like all the other kids," Becca said at the rally, her arms around the yellow Lab.
DSBN spokeswoman Kim Yielding said as of Monday, Lily's documentation had been submitted.
The board is now able to evaluate Lily's certification and training from Thames Centre Service Dogs and its requirement Lily meet the Assistance Dogs International standard — generally used for dogs providing support for physical needs.
A "school access test" for Lily, scheduled for Oct. 21, would allow the service dog to accompany her to regular classes.
Droeshout said she's confident Lily will pass all tests. I
Earlier, a number of rally-goers said they supported Becca.
"This is ridiculous," said Amanda Thomas of Niagara Falls, Ont. "Of course the dog should be let in the actual classroom.
"I can't believe there's even a debate."