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Carlsbad USD |  AR  5145.8  Students

Refusal To Harm Or Destroy Animals   

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Any student who has a moral objection to dissecting or otherwise harming or destroying animals shall have the right to refrain from participating in instruction which involves such activities and shall not be discriminated against because of a decision to exercise this right. (Education code 32255.1)

(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)

(cf. 6142.93 - Science Instruction)

At the beginning of each academic year, the district shall notify parents/guardians, in writing, of students' right to refrain from instruction involving harm or destruction of animals. (Education Code 48980, 48981)

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

In addition, each teacher of a course that uses live or dead animals or animal parts shall inform students of their right to refrain from the harmful or destructive use of animals. (Education Code 32255.4)

Students who wish to refrain from such instruction shall notify the teacher and shall provide a note from their parent/guardian substantiating the objection. (Education Code 32255.1)

A teacher's determination of whether a student may pursue an alternative project or be excused from the project shall not be arbitrary or capricious. (Education Code 32255.3)

If the teacher believes an adequate alternative project is possible, he/she may work with the student to develop and agree upon an alternative project which would provide the knowledge, information or experience required by the course of study. Alternative projects include but are not limited to the use of video tapes, models, films, books and computers. The alternative project shall involve time and effort comparable to that required by the original project. (Education Code 32255, 32255.1)

Students who participate in an alternative project shall pass all course examinations in order to receive course credit. Students may request an alternative test, however, if a regular examination requires the harmful or destructive use of animals. (Education Code 32255.1)

This right shall apply to all K-12 courses, except classes and activities conducted as part of agricultural education that provide instruction on the care, management and evaluation of domestic animals. (Education Code 32255.5, 32255.6)

Legal Reference:


32255-32255.6 Student's right to refrain from harmful or destructive use of animals

48980-48985 Notification of parents/guardians, especially:

48980 Parental notification at beginning of term

51540 Humane treatment of animals

Management Resources:


Science Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade 12, 2004

Science Content Standards for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade 12, 1998


California Department of Education:


approved: July 26, 2006 Carlsbad, California

revised: February 9, 2011