Wake Ed

Wake County school board adopts policy on classroom pets

The Wake County school board approved Tuesday a new policy that regulates the ways live animals can be brought to schools as classroom pets and for instructional purposes.

The policy would require investigating known student and staff allergies and health issues that would be aggravated by having the animal in class and giving parents the opportunity to object or opt out. The new policy is separate from an existing school policy that allows students and staff with disabilities to have service animals on campus.

The policy states that it doesn't create a right for staff members, students or others to bring non-service animals onto school property. It includes several requirements:

▪ The principal must give approval before the animals can be brought to school.

▪ Staff must investigate any known student or staff allergy problems in advance.

▪ Parents must get the opportunity to object, or to have their children opt out of participating in the activity with the animal.

▪ Animals must be housebroken, when appropriate, and have received all vaccinations as required under state law.

And school staff members are responsible for the care or supervision of any animals used as part of the curriculum or as classroom pets, and are expected to practice humane treatment at all times.

School officials have said the new policy will ensure consistent treatment of animals across the district. It will also meet requirements that some schools must follow to receive grants to use animals in class.