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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Regulation 6-40.1

INSTRUCTION

Use of Organisms in the Instructional Program

A.  Purpose

The purpose is to provide policy and guidelines for the appropriate use and care of organisms. These shall promote respect for life and help develop an understanding of the interrelationships of all living things which will ext end beyond the applications of the classroom laboratory.

B.  Policy

Organisms are permitted for scientifically appropriate purposes under qualified adult supervision. Concern for the humane and proper treatment and use of organisms is of primary importance.

No dissection may be performed on live animals. Animal dissection is prohibited in the elementary and middle school science program or in any elementary or middle school science activity sponsored by the Virginia Beach City Pu blic Schools. Preserved animal dissection is permitted in the biology, advanced placement biology, environmental science, and oceanography programs in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. The Virginia Standards of Learning for Biology, Objective 10.9 , allows animal dissection as one alternative in the study of animals. Students expressing objections to dissection on an ethical or moral basis shall not be required to participate in or to observe dissection. Alternatives to dissection are to be addressed by the use of models, videotapes, laser videodiscs, display specimens, or by other available resources.

C.  Responsibility

Policy implementation is the responsibility of the building principal. It is the teachers' responsibility to insure that assignments given in lieu of dissection adequately cover the course objectives and the Virginia Standards of Learning Objective 10.9.

D.  Application

The classroom teachers shall implement the guidelines.

E.  Guidelines

1.  Care of Organisms in the Classroom

a.  Supervision is required by an adult knowledgeable in the biology, care, and management of the species being studied.

b.  Prior to the period of study, provisions should be made for the placement of organisms at the conclusion of the study.

c.  Plans should be made to control possible unwanted breedings of the species.

d.  Provisions should be made for the care of organisms over weekends and holidays.

e.  Maintenance of good health and provisions for optimal care, based on an understanding of the life habits of each species used, should be of primary importance. a) Animal quarters should be spacious, not overcrowded, and sanitary. Food should be appropriate to the animal's normal diet and of sufficient quantity and balance to maintain a good standard of nutrition at all times. Clean drinking water should always be available. If students are allowed to handle the animals, they should be instructed in the proper way to do this and informed of the physiological reasons which necessitate such handling. b) Plants should be provided with adequate light, water, food, humidity, and space.

f.  Live animals to be kept in the classroom should be obtained from licensed dealers who can provide assurance that the animals are healthy and free of transmittable disease or other problems which endanger human health. Wild animals are generally inappropriate for use in classroom studies.

g.  Animals should be returned to their natural habitat as quickly as possible to minimize stress to the organism.

2.  Dissection and Alternatives to Dissection

a.  Teachers should make careful decisions about dissections to be conducted by students. If dissection is determined to be the most effective activity to meet the learning objectives, alternate activities must be provid ed for those students who do not want to dissect.

b.  Teachers must notify students and parents prior to planned dissections and make them aware of the alternates that are available.

c.  Students must be given a choice of doing the dissection or an alternate activity. No student is to be penalized for choosing the alternate activity.

d.  Alternate activities must be provided during the regular class period.

3.  Projects

a.  Any projects or research involving vertebrate animals must conform to all rules and regulations established by the International Science and Engineering Fair. A copy of these rules may be obtained from the science coordinator.

 

Adopted by School Board:  September 16, 1992
Revised by School Board:  July 13, 1993 (Effective August 14, 1993)