Student Choice Laws and
network of activists also worked for the laws passage. The
passage critically depended most heavily on the commitment of its
sponsors, now Congressman James Greenwood (R) and Representative Tom
Murphy. By working together, the AAVS, PLAN, activists, ad
legislators were able to craft and enact the most far reaching student's
choice law in the country. The passage of this law was a great
victory for animals and students in Pennsylvania.
If you would like more information regarding the Law, the campaign, or
Alternatives to Dissection, please contact the
AAVS' Education Department at
In the Summer of 1992, the Students Rights Option was passed. The
Students Rights Option was amended to the Pennsylvania school code. It
guarantees non-animal dissection alternatives to all Pennsylvania students
in grades K - 12. The law applies to students in both public and
private schools who object to participating in dissection or
vivisection. The Students Rights Option was aggressively promoted by
the AAVS and by the other subscribing organizations of the Pennsylvania
Legislative Animals Network (PLAN). The AAVS drafted the original version
of the Students Rights Option bill, developed advocacy materials relating
to the initiative, and promoted the measure through direct mail and other
means. A cohesive and unified statewide
afforded that pupil by this section an lowering a grade because a pupil
has chosen an alternative education project or test is strictly
(d) As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meaning given to them in this
(1) "Alternative education project" shall include, but is
not limited to, the use of video tapes, models, films, books and computers
which would provide an alternate avenue for obtaining the knowledge,
information or experience required by the course of study in
question. The term also includes "alternative test". A pupil
has the right to refuse any alternative education project or test which
may involve or necessitate any harmful use of an animals or animals
(2) "Animal" shall mean any living organism of the kingdom
animalia in the phylum chordata, organisms which have a notochord.
The term also includes an animal's cadaver or severed parts of any
(3) "Pupil" shall mean a person twenty-one (21) years
of age or under who is matriculated in a course of instruction in an
educational institution from kindergarten through grade twelve. For
the purpose of asserting the pupil's rights and receiving any notice or
response pursuant tot this section, the term also includes the parents or
guardians of the matriculated minor.
The text of the Students Rights Option which was offered as an
amendment to Pennsylvania' s school code, P.L. 30, No. 14, reads as
Section 2: The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1522. Pupil's Right of Refusal; Animal Dissection - (a)
Public or nonpublic school pupils from kindergarten through grade twelve
may refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise warm or
destroy animals, or any parts thereof, as part of their course of
(b) Schools shall notify incoming pupils and their
parents or guardian of the right to decline to participate in an education
project involving harmful or destructive use of animals and authorize
parents or guardians to assert the rights of their children to refuse to
participate in those projects. Notice shall be given not less than
three (3) weeks prior to the scheduled course exercise which involves the
use of animals.
(c) A pupil who chooses to refrain from
participation or observation of a portion of a course of instruction in
accordance with this section shall be offered an alternative education
project for the purpose of providing the pupil an avenue for obtaining the
factual knowledge, information or experience required by the course of
study. If tests require harmful or destructive use of animals,
pupils shall be offered alternative tests. A pupil shall not be
discriminated against based upon his or her decision to exercise the right
This act shall take affect
California Code, Education Code 32255.1, 3, 4, 6, provide: 32255.
Pupil with moral obligation to dissection or otherwise harming or
destroying animals; notice; alternative education project
(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 32255.6, any pupil with a
moral objection to dissecting or otherwise harming or destroying animals,
or any parts thereof, shall notify his or her teacher regarding this
objection, upon notification by the school of his or her rights pursuant
to Section 32255.4.
(b) If the pupil chooses to refrain from participation in an
education project involving the harmful or destructive use of animals, and
if the teacher believes that an adequate alternative education project is
possible, then the teacher may work with the pupil to develop and agree
upon an alternate avenue for obtaining the knowledge, information, or
experience required by the course of study in question.
(c) The alternative education project shall require a comparable time
and effort investment by the pupil. It shall not, as a means of
penalizing the pupil be more arduous than the original education
(d) The pupil shall not be discriminated against based upon his or her
decision to exercise his or her rights pursuant to this chapter.
(e) Pupils choosing an alternative educational project shall pass all
examinations for the respective course of study in order to receive credit
for that course of study. However, if tests require the harmful or
destructive use of animals, a pupil may, similarly, seek alternative tests
pursuant to this chapter.
(f) A pupil's objection to participating in an educational project
pursuant to this section shall be substantiated by a note from his or her
parent or guardian.
(Added by Stats.1988, c.65,
32255.3 Decision of teacher on alternative educational project not
arbitrary or capricious
(a) A teacher's decision in determining if a pupil may pursue an
alternative educational project or be excused from the project shall not
be arbitrary or capricious.
(b) Nothing in this chapter shall prevent any pupil from pursuing the
grievance procedures in existing law.
Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)
32255.4 Teacher utilizing live or dead animals or parts in course;
duty to inform pupils of rights
Each teacher teaching a course that utilizes live or dead animals or
animals parts shall also inform the pupils of their rights pursuant to
(Added by Stats. 1988,c.65,
32255.6 Exemption of certain classes and activities from
Classes and activities, conducted as part of a program in agricultural
education that provide instruction on the care, management, and evaluation
of domestic animals are exempt from the provisions of this
(Added by Stats. 1988,c.65,
32255.5 Application of chapter from kindergarten through grades 1 to
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, this chapter
applies to all levels of instruction in all public schools operating
programs from kindergarten through 1 to 12, inclusive.
(Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)
Florida Statutes, Education, 233.0674
233.0674 Biological experiments on living
(1) Legislative intent.
(a) The legislature finds that:
1. Biological experimentation is essential for an understanding of the
complexity and diversity of life processes;
2. Such studies should lead to a broader awareness of living
3. Capable students anxious to pursue careers in biological sciences
should receive appropriate encouragement and guidance; and
4. Biological experimentation should be within the comprehension and
capabilities of the student undertaking the study.
(b) The Legislature recognizes that
the use of live animals in some kinds of experiments by students in grades
K through 12 may be distasteful or traumatizing to immature students.
(2) State Policy.- It is therefore the intent of the Legislature
with respect to biological experiments involving living subjects by
students in grades K through 12 that:
(a) No surgery or dissection shall be
performed on any living mammalian vertebrate or bird. Dissection may
be performed on any nonliving mammals or birds secured from a recognized
source of such specimens and under supervision of qualified
instructors. Students may be excused upon written request of a
parent or guardian.
(b) Lower orders of life and
invertebrates may be used in such experiments.
(c) Nonmammalian vertebrates,
excluding birds, may be used in biological experiments, provided that
physiological harm does not result from such experiments. Anatomical
studies shall only be conducted on models which are anatomically correct
for the animals being
studied or on nonliving nonmammaalian vertebrates secured from a
recognized source of such specimens and under the supervision of
qualified instructors. Students may be excused from such experiments
upon written request of the parent or guardian.
(d) Observational studies of animals
in the wild or in zoological parks, gardens, or aquaria, or of pets, fish,
domestic animals, or livestock may be conducted.
(e) Studies of vertebrate animal
cells, such as red blood cells or other tissue cells, plasma or serum, or
anatomical specimens, such as organs, tissues, or skeletons, purchased or
acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities or from
wholesale or retail establishments which supply carcasses or parts of food
animals may be conducted.
(f) Normal physiological and
behavioral studies of the human animal may be conducted, provided that
such projects are carefully selected so that neither physiological or
psychological harm to the subject can result from such studies.
(g) All experiments shall be carried
out under the supervision of a competent science teacher who shall be
responsible for ensuring that the student has the necessary comprehension
for the study to be undertaken. Whenever feasible, specifically
qualified experts in the field should be consulted.
(h) Live animals on the premises of
public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools shall be housed and
cared for in a humane and safe manner. Animals shall not remain on
the premises of any school during periods when such school is not in
session, unless adequate care is provided for such animals.
(3) Exemptions. The provisions of this section shall not
be construed to prohibit or constrain conventional instruction in the
normal practices of animal husbandry or exhibition of any livestock in
connection with an agricultural program or instruction of advanced
students participating in advanced research, scientific studies, or
Sarah Lawrence College
Choice Policy Regarding Dissection in Biology Courses
Sarah Lawrence College does not require students with ethical
objections to participate in dissection. Students who choose to
refrain from such activities will be given alternatives that provide
similar experiences. Those who choose such
alternatives will not be penalized, although they will be responsible
for the material presented in these exercises. If appropriate,
separate evaluations of their learning experiences maybe
designed. In courses where dissection is considered to be
fundamental and therefore mandatory, students should be informed of this
Students who feel that undue pressure to dissect has been placed
upon them, or question the designation of a course as requiring mandatory
dissection, may file a complaint with the Dean of the College.
American Anti-Vivisection Society
Old York Road # 204
Jenkintown, PA 19046-1685
1 215 887-0816