The Board of Education recognizes the appropriate use of live animals as instructional resources can enrich the educational program. The observation and nurture of live animals can help children learn specific biological and behavioral principles and gain respect for all living things.

A staff member who uses live animals shall observe proper precautions for the safety of pupils and the animals. The Principal or designee must approve a live animal being brought into the school building and the use of any animal in a course of instruction or the establishment of an animal habitat in a classroom.

Any animal used in school must have been lawfully acquired in accordance with applicable state law and local ordinance. An animal susceptible to rabies must have been vaccinated against rabies and proof of such vaccination must be included with the request to bring a live animal into the school submitted to the Principal or designee before a live animal is brought onto school grounds or into a school building. No animal shall be permitted in any area of the school where a pupil who is allergic to the animal might be exposed to the animal.

A teacher or other qualified adult must assume primary responsibility for the animal, its nourishment, and its sanitary living conditions. The staff member in charge must make proper arrangements for the animal’s care and feeding over weekends, holidays, and school vacation periods.

No experiment that deprives a living animal of nourishment or exposes the animal to harm shall be conducted.

A pupil in Kindergarten through grade twelve may refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture, or otherwise harm or destroy animals or any parts thereof as part of a course of instruction. In the event the school program will require any such activities, the school will notify the pupil and parent(s) or legal guardian(s) at the beginning of each school year of the right to decline participation in such activities. Within two weeks of the receipt of the notice from the school, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) shall notify the school if the right to decline participation in such activities will be exercised. Any pupil who chooses to refrain from participation in or observation of such activities shall be offered an alternative education project for the purpose of providing the pupil with the factual knowledge, information, or experience required by the course of study. A pupil may refuse to participate in an alternative education project which involves or necessitates any harmful use of an animal or animal part(s). A pupil shall not be discriminated against, in grading or in any other manner, based upon a decision to exercise the rights afforded pursuant to this act.

N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.25

Adopted: 21 April 2005
Revised: September 2010