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Student Choice Laws and Policies

Student choice laws and policies provide important tools for students and educators who do not want to participate in animal dissection and/or wish to incorporate innovative technology in the science classroom. Various states have adopted a wide range of options in which students and teachers can make this choice, but it is important to know what the laws and policies are in your own state.

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States with informed student consent laws (K-12):

States with student choice policies:

  • Maine, 1990 (Department of Educational and Cultural Services Informational Letter #49)
  • Massachusetts, 2005 (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Policy on Dissection and Dissection Alternative Activities)
  • Michigan, 2014 (State Board of Education Policy)
  • New Hampshire, 2014 (State Department of Education policy)
  • New Mexico, 2005 (State Public Education Department Policy—Title 6, Chapter 29 Part 1 11 (b)(8))
  • Washington, D.C., 2012 (District of Columbia, Notice of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education)

States with policies that allow students to opt-out of any classroom activity, with consent of parents/guardians:

  • Arizona, 2014 (Arizona State Legislature, 15-102)
  • Hawaii, (Board of Education Policy #2210)
  • Minnesota, 1998 (MINN. STAT. § 120B.20 Parental Curriculum Review)
  • Texas, 1995 (Texas Education Code – Section 26.010. Exemption from Instruction)
  • Utah, 2014 (Utah Administrative Code R277-105, Recognizing Constitutional Freedoms in the Schools)

States with advisories, legislative resolutions, policies and agreements where local school districts retain control over curriculum:

  • Louisiana, 1992 (House Concurrent Resolution No. 153)
  • Maryland, 1997 (majority of individual county policies)