Policy could permit pupils to pass on dissections


Staff Writer

MARLBORO – Board of Education members recently discussed the possibility of adding provisions to a policy, which would allow students to opt out of certain science experiments.

At the Sept. 12 board meeting, members reviewed a policy that, if approved, would allow pupils to refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise harm or destroy animals or any parts of an animal as part of an instructional course.

According to the policy, the board will offer an alternative education program for a course or portion of a course involving animal dissection. An alternative educational project means the use of video tapes, models, films, books, computers or any other tools which provide an alternative method for obtaining and testing the knowledge, information or experience required by a course.

The policy states that school administrators will notify parents and students at the beginning of each academic year of the right to decline participation in these activities. The policy authorizes parents or guardians to opt their children out of the project within two weeks of the receipt of the notice.

Final action on the policy has not been taken by the board.

In other business at the meeting, the board members discussed changes to three language arts courses.

According to Karen Kondek, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, three courses were revised in order to allow language arts, social studies and elementary education instructors to teach the courses.

If approved, the sixth-grade diversity class will deal with multicultural education using multicultural and nonfiction literature. The course will involve students reading and writing literary responses.

The seventh-grade public discourse class, which used to be public speaking, will use famous speeches as models for the students. The class will teach students why public speaking is important and how to write a persuasive speech. Pupils who take the class will study the historical content of the speech and use it to write their own.

Eighth-graders who take the images and their messages class, which used to be creative writing, will study famous images in history that defined certain periods of time. The students will use the historical content of the images to write picture prompts from different points of view.

Kondek said the revisions have integrated history into the courses so that social studies teachers would be able to teach the classes.