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NEISD suspends practice of cat dissection in classrooms

District stands by use of animal dissection as teaching practice

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SAN ANTONIO – The North East Independent School District will no longer dissect cats in its biology and anatomy and physiology classes, the district confirmed Tuesday.

The practice came under fire in May 2016 after video showing a student jumping rope with a cat’s intestine went viral.

NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor called it an isolated incident and said at the time that the demonstration was not meant to be degrading or disrespectful.

"The lesson was intended to demonstrate and explore the strength of the organ,” she said. "The teacher participated in this same lesson in her college courses at Texas A&M."

Chancellor said Tuesday that students will continue to perform dissections on animals other than cats.

“Animal use in the classroom is a valuable instructional tool that teachers should have the choice to implement into their instruction,” she said in a written statement.

She also said that any student who wants to opt out of dissection can participate in alternative assignments.

Chancellor’s full statement is available below:

We re-examine best practices routinely and since September we have been looking at dissections and whether any changes were needed. A committee was formed and thorough research was conducted. Students in Biology and Anatomy and Physiology will continue to do animal dissections, however, the committee recommended that cats no longer be dissected.  The committee believes, along with the National Science Teacher Association that animal use in the classroom is a valuable instructional tool that teachers should have the choice to implement into their instruction. This authentic learning experience will still be accomplished with the use of other animal specimens, but cats will no longer be used. Any student wishing to opt out of dissection can participate in alternative assignments.

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