WFISD School Board to Hear from Mother in Dog Bite Battle

The Texoma mother who says her daughter was bitten twice by a teacher's dog at Fowler Elementary plans to take her case to the WFISD board.

Madyson Cushenbery is a 3rd grader at Fowler Elementary School. Her mother, Shannon Cushenbery, says that in December 2009 a teacher's Bull Mastiff named Mable bit Madyson on the face. Then she says it happened again in January of this year.

After the first incident, Shannon says she went to the principal and told her she did not want Mable near Madyson. She says the school agreed. Things changed the next month, the Cushenbery's say it happened again.

After the second bite, Shannon said enough was enough. She says she tried several channels of communication. "We went through all the official networks to try to get that done they told me they said the dog was going to stay... They told us the dog did not cross the line by disfiguring her permanently so they were going to allow it. (Reporter asks) "So, it wasn't a bad enough bite to them to want to get this dog out?" "Right." (Reporter asks)"She still had her arms and legs?" "She still had her arms and legs." The dog was removed from the school but only after the Cushenbery's hired a lawyer.

Shannon says the physical injuries are minuscule compared to the emotional trauma. Madyson has seen a therapist who diagnosed her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is taking medication to help her cope.

The Cushenbery's say they racked up about $1000 in medical expenses and they would like the WFISD to cover them, but most of all they just want an apology.

(Reporter asks) 'You want an apology, you want your expenses covered, are you going to seek any punitive damages from the school?" "No!" (Reporter asks) "So, you just want what you're out covered and them to say 'I'm sorry'?" "Yes, we want an apology and we want our formal meeting before the School Board.

The family tells Newschannel 6 the attorney for the WFISD School Board faxed them a settlement offer of $550 if they would put the case to rest.  Shannon says she will make her case before the School Board on September 20, 2010.

Renae Murphy, Spokesperson for WFISD declined an on-camera interview with anyone from the school because it is a pending legal matter.

Murphy did say the teacher had special training at Midwestern State University in a course called "Working in Harmony With Animals: Animal Assisted Therapy, Theory & Applications".

Murphy also said the dog is certified as a therapy dog through the American Kennel Club's "Canine Good Citizen Program".

However, Lisa Peterson, Director of Communications for the AKC says the Canine Good Citizen Program is not designed to certify an animal as a therapy dog, and the AKC does not even have a program to certify therapy animals. Peterson said the program is limited to testing the obedience of a dog.

Newschannel 6 will bring you live coverage from the WFISD Board Meeting tonight. The Board of Trustees of the Wichita Falls Independent School District will meet for a Board Meeting at 6:00 PM in the Board Room at the Education Center at 1104 Broad Street in Wichita Falls.

The agenda for the meeting is posted below.

I. CALL TO ORDER AND OPENING STATEMENT Opening statement by the president, including an announcement whether a quorum is present, that the meeting has been duly called and notice of the meeting has been posted for the time and manner required by law.






A. Enrollment Report


A. Changing Demographic Trends in Texas

B. Raising the Completion Rate


A. Minutes

B. Resolution Regarding Extracurricular Status of 4-H Organization

C. Preventative Elevator Maintenance RFP #11-01

D. Construction Projects

E. Teacher Applicant Pool

F. Personnel Report

G. Academic Achievement: Grading/Progress Reports to Parents Policy EIA (Local)