Dissection: Student feelings and letter to school board

Students across Canada are making their feelings known about the use of animals in school science laboratory projects: living beings (grasshoppers, frogs, etc.) intentionally killed for the purpose of education. Sheep eyeballs and fetal pigs are also commonly presented to students as learning tools in middle and senior secondary schools. Yet alternatives to dissection are available! The Vancouver School Board passed a Student Choice Policy in spring 2005, and the issue has been raised in Kelowna, B.C., as well, with School District #23 stating that science teachers now need to remind students that alternatives to dissection are available to all.

Please visit www.frogsarecool.com and click on “Take Action” to find out what Vancouver, Kelowna, and Toronto students have achieved. Also, you can explore the entire site for valuable information on dissection and humane alternatives.

The following is a Kelowna update for June 5, written by representatives of TRACS and Youth Against Animal Abuse:

After supporting a student choice policy on dissection for the Vancouver school district, we started to work for one in the Okanagan. School District #23 board members replied to our letter by saying that they decided not to pursue a policy, but they did state, “We will, however, request that our biology staff inform students of current provincial curriculum which does not require students to participate in the dissection of animals.” We are still working on an official policy which will ensure that teachers always inform students of their rights.

Letter to School Board

June 6th, 2005

1940 Underhill Street
Kelowna, B.C. V1X 5X7

To the School District #23 Board of Trustees:

We thank you for considering our concerns and replying to our letter
regarding a student choice policy on dissection.

Although we were pleased to see that you are now requesting that teachers
inform students they are not required to perform dissections on animals, we
were disappointed that you did not pass a policy. Without a stable policy
in place, there is no guarantee that all biology staff will feel obligated
to inform their students of the current provincial curriculum. We feel
that all students have the right to feel comfortable that their beliefs
and decisions are being respected.

Enclosed is the Vancouver School Board’s policy, which was very recently
passed. We request that you view the basic rules that they now follow, and
look further into this issue. We thank you in advance for your reply.

Yours truly,

Carmen Crosland
Youth Against Animal Abuse
Westbank, BC

Cory Davis
Youth Programs, TRACS, Kelowna, BC
Visitors to this site: please see www.frogsarecool.com for information on a Student Choice Policy passed in Vancouver.

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