As the number of students objecting to dissection grows (and the benefits of non-animal alternatives become even more evident), a groundswell of change is clearly emerging. More school districts across the country are implementing Student Choice Policies, more states are enacting Student Choice Laws, and more colleges, universities and medical schools are voluntarily eliminating live-animal labs in favor of innovative alternatives.
These new laws, policies and procedures (which NAVS is working to make universal) guarantee the right of students who have moral objections to dissection to utilize alternatives without being penalized. But we still have a long road ahead, and we need people like you to get involved today!
The Distinctions Between Policy and Law
While formal Student Choice Policies may be adopted at the individual school or school district level, Student Choice Laws protecting public students’ right to choose alternatives must be enacted by each state’s legislature.
Typically, Student Choice Laws require public elementary and high schools to notify students and/or their parents if a forthcoming course includes dissection, and to allow students the option of engaging in a humane alternative without penalty. (Unfortunately, current laws don’t apply to private schools, colleges or universities.)
Yet even in states where Student Choice Laws are in force, even in schools where formal Student Choice Policies prevail, students and parents should be vigilant in protecting these laws and policies. The reason? Many educators are not even aware of prevailing regulations (much less how to implement them).
If you, as a student or parent, object to your school’s policies (or your state’s lack of student choice laws), you now have the resources to reshape the way science is taught. By joining forces with NAVS, you can help to advance better, more humane science education.
Implementing a Student Choice Policy
While a rapidly growing number of educators and school districts are allowing dissection alternatives, refusing dissection can still be an arduous battle for students. As part of our commitment to advancing humane education, NAVS provides valuable resources to help students, teachers and parents implement student choice policies in their own school districts:
- The NAVS Dissection Hotline – 1-800-922-FROG (3764) – the nation’s only toll-free resource providing information, support and expert counseling for students, parents and teachers looking to put an end to dissection in the classroom, once and for all.
- The NAVS Student Choice Tool Kit – an invaluable tool for initiating a Student Choice Policy in your school district, while at the same time adhering fully to the most stringent academic requirements of life science.