New guidelines at MMSD ask teachers to send letter to parents prior to animal dissections
The Madison Metropolitan School District is instructing its teachers to provide an equally educational alternative to students whose parents request an alternative to animal dissections in class.
Alliance for Animals executive director Mary Telfer said, “It’s really been a long time coming.”
Telfer said one of the Alliance for Animals board members is also a parent in the Madison School District. They sent a letter to the district asking for a policy to be put in place so there could be specific guidelines for teachers to follow.
MADISON, Wis. — “It’s a standard that animals can be used any way that we want them to be used and dissecting them is one of those things,” Telfer said. “Teachers have to provide some other equal education so that students still learn the same thing without dissecting animals.”
The Madison School District released a letter in response, addressing faculty and staff, along with parents.
The message to principals stated the following:
“In response to families requesting information about dissection activities in science classrooms, we are asking science teachers to provide clear communication to them. We ask that all teachers send information home to families prior to conducting any dissection activities or demonstrations in science classes.”
The letter that will be sent to parents prior to dissection will include the following information:
“Students may be provided alternatives to animal dissection should their parents wish their child to abstain from these activities. Alternatives to animal dissection may include but are not limited to: computer programs, plastic models, videos and charts. Alternative dissection techniques are designed to provide the student with knowledge similar to what is expected to be gained by students in the course who perform, participate in, or observe the dissection. Students who have opted out of animal dissection exercises are given information on specific activities and resources to use as their alternative assignment. These students are also provided assistance with their alternate task. Students who perform alternative projects and do not perform and witness the dissection of animals shall not be penalized.”
Telfer said this is a step in the right direction and mentioned that, “Seventeen states have it as a law. Right now, it’s not a law in Wisconsin, but now it’s a policy in the Madison School District”
No one from the school district was available for an on-camera interview. However, the district’s chief of staff, Ricardo Jara, said in a statement , “Students have been allowed to take alternative assignments in place of lessons or assignments they may have personal conflicts with, including animal dissections, for quite some time now. Our team has recently issued guidance to schools and asked that they send an informational letter home to families prior to conducting any dissection activities or demonstrations in science classes.”
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