Name: Student Right of Refusal for Animal Dissection
Number: SB 901
Ask Maryland legislators to vote “yes” on a bill to ensure that students are not punished for standing up for their right to choose humane dissection alternatives in the classroom.
NAVS launched a new initiative in 2015 to guarantee that students have a choice to refuse to dissect animals in the classroom, sending out letters and model bills to numerous states. A bill has now been introduced in Maryland, by Senator Ronald Young, to require schools to make educational alternatives to the dissection and vivisection of animals available to all students.
This bill would give students the right to refuse to participate in or observe a dissection activity in the classroom and require teachers to provide an educationally appropriate alternative. Penalizing or discriminating against students who exercise their right of refusal would be prohibited. In addition, the Department of Education would be required to send notices to county boards for them to distribute to schools in order to notify students of their right to refuse.
While many Maryland counties or school boards already provide an option to students who do not want to dissect animals in school, this policy is not uniform across the state, allowing some students to easily use an alternative and leaving other students to face criticism and even lower grades because of their wish to opt out of dissection. The passage of a state law ensures that all students in the state—in both public and private schools—have the same opportunity to receive a humane education.
Now that this bill has been introduced in the Maryland legislature, it is up to individual advocates to make your voices heard loud and clear in support of student choice for public students in the state.
After you send a letter of support to your state Senator, consider calling your state Delegate and ask them to consider sponsoring a companion bill in the House of Delegates for SB 901.
If you live near Annapolis, please consider attending a hearing on this bill on March 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm.