TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner which would give students the option to refuse to dissect an animal as part of their school course work was approved today by the Senate by a vote of 36-0, receiving final legislative approval.
“When a student has a legitimate moral objection to the dissection of an animal, we should foster such principles and ideals, not force that student into conformity for a good grade,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “With computer imaging technology, models, books, videos and more, there are many alternatives that can impart the same knowledge without having to resort to dissection. We’re lucky to have such principled individuals in our schools, and we should not crush idealism in the name of the status quo.”
The bill, S-1739, would permit public school students to refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise harm or destroy animals, or any part of an animal, as part of their course work. The bill would require public schools to notify students and their parents at the beginning of each school year of their right to refuse in these activities, and would provide for an alternative educational experience that would be able to teach the same information they might otherwise get from participating in the dissection experiment. If the alternative also involves the harm of an animal, the student may refuse, and another alternative would be assigned.
“This isn’t about giving unruly students the opportunity to ditch school work,” said Senator Turner. “There are many A-level students who simply object on moral grounds to harming any living being, and their rights should be observed and protected. We can teach the same lessons on biology without having to destroy a living or once-living sample to do it, and if a student feels that strongly about it, they should be given the right to refuse without jeopardizing their academic good standing.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s Office to be signed into law.