304R-D - Animal Utilization and Care/Alternatives to Animal Dissection

    1. Animal Utilization and Care

      Students benefit from the observation, study, and research of living creatures. It is a vital aspect of human growth and development to engage in the study of living things.

      While education in this area is most important, the following procedures and guidelines shall be followed to ensure the safety of both animals and people as well as the maintenance of sanitary conditions:

      1. Instructional units of work extending beyond a one day period of time involving the utilization of all animals, reptiles, birds, etc. for research, demonstration, and observation purposes must be approved by the principal or principal’s designee.

      2. The sharing of pets in an individual classroom for a period of time not exceeding one day is encouraged and permitted with the approval of the principal or principal’s designee.

      3. Aquariums (fish only) are allowed for a period of time and under circumstances and conditions approved by the principal or principal’s designee.

      4. Dangerous or wild creatures are not allowed. Discretion as to the definition of “dangerous or wild creatures" is the responsibility of the principal or principal’s designee.

      5. All animals, reptiles, birds, etc. must be transported to and from school in conveyances other than vehicles (buses, automobiles) operated by the school division. Safe containers with adequate provision for food and water are recommended for the welfare of both animals and people.

    2. Alternatives to Animal Dissection

      One or more alternatives to animal dissection are provided to students enrolled in classes that incorporate dissection exercises. The Virginia Board of Education Guidelines to Alternatives to Animal Dissection are considered in implementing these alternatives.


    Legal Reference(s):
    Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-200.01.

    Virginia Board of Education Guidelines Alternatives to Animal Dissection (Attachment to Virginia Department of Education Superintendent’s Memo #161 (Aug. 6, 2004)).


    Approved: September 7, 1976
    Amended: April 18, 2019