Students Get a Choice

With all the teaching tools of modern technology, classroom dissection is not only cruel but unnecessary and outdated.

Paws Up!

To the District of Columbia for allowing students to opt out of classroom dissection on animals.

The Office of the Superintendent of Education issued a new policy allowing students to opt out of classroom dissection on animals.

According to the policy, “Although schools and teachers are free to use dissection as a part of their lesson plan, students who do not wish to dissect an animal for moral or religious reasons can be provided with an alternative lesson that accomplishes the same level of mastery. Alternatives to animal dissection may include web-based dissection, plastic or clay model dissection, videos/films, books, transparencies and any other activities crafted by educators that address the same standard(s).”

While no one will deny that science classes are important for our students, do our animals have to attend school, too? Science classes that dissect or otherwise use animals may be teaching important critical problem solving skills; yet, at the same time, they may be inadvertently teaching a lack of reverence and respect for all life. Because they dissect animals in school laboratories, some students may be learning that nonhuman animals are nothing more than tools to advance their knowledge. Is that what we want our science classes teaching our children?

Take Action: Residents of the District of Columbia, send a thank-you note to the superintendent supporting her decision to issue this policy. Residents of other jurisdictions, if your state does not have a student-choice policy, please contact your state superintendent of education and urge your state follow Washington, DC, in issuing one.

Hosanna Mahaley Jones
State Superintendent
Office of the State Superintendent
of the District of Columbia
810 1st Street NE, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20002


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