- Last Updated: 30 June 2021 30 June 2021
|Policies and Regulations||NEPN Code: IMG-R|
Animals on School Grounds
Unless otherwise authorized, animals may not be brought onto school grounds between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm on days when school is in session.
Animals in School Buildings
The Building Administrator/Program Administrator must first grant permission before any animal is brought into the school. A written request must be submitted annually detailing: 1) the instructional purpose; 2) the type of animal; 3) the length of time the animal is expected to be present; 4) a plan for the care and restraint of the animal; 5) and proof of the animal’s good health, including proof of rabies and other vaccinations, if applicable for the species.
The animal’s owner/handler shall maintain responsibility, control, and proper restraint of the animal at all times. Animals will not be allowed to freely roam the school and will be restricted from areas where food is prepared or consumed. If an animal becomes sick or aggressive, it shall be removed immediately.
Students and staff members with allergies, or other health conditions, must be accommodated. If accommodations cannot be made, the animal must be removed.
Animals at a higher risk for transmitting rabies (e.g., bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes), aggressive or unpredictable animals, and stray animals will not be allowed at school under any circumstance.
Wild, exotic, poisonous, or farm animals will only be allowed at school under the control of an individual trained in the care and management of the animal and properly licensed by state of federal agencies as appropriate (e.g., zookeepers, veterinarians, biologists, Marine Fish and Wildlife personnel).
Student contact with animals should always be supervised and students should be instructed in the proper handling of the particular species. Students must be instructed to immediately wash their hands after contact with any animal.
Before a classroom adopts a pet, the teacher shall submit a written request, as outlined above. The care plan must include the teacher’s plan for the animal during scheduled, or emergency, breaks from school. The teacher must have experience in caring for the particular species and agree to take full responsibility for the animal, including taking the animal to the veterinarian at least once a year, or as often as determined necessary by a veterinarian.
Fish and small mammals (e.g., guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, mice, and rats) may be appropriate classroom animals and students may handle and/or assist with the care of these animals. Snakes, other reptiles, amphibians, insects, and spiders may also be appropriate, but only when the animal was bred in captivity, is not venomous or toxin-producing, and does not otherwise pose a health or safety risk. Students may not handle and/or assist with the care of these animals. Birds and ferrets may not be kept as classroom pets. Other animals, not strictly prohibited, may be considered for a classroom pet on a case by case basis.
Parents and guardians must be notified of classroom pets before the pet is introduced into the classroom. If the school is notified of a student’s health or safety needs, these needs will take priority over the classroom pet. Parent/guardian consent is required before a student will be allowed to help care for a classroom pet.
Animal enclosures must be sturdy, locked if possible, and appropriate for the specific species. Animal enclosures must be properly cleaned on a regular basis. Students shall not assist with cleaning the animal’s enclosure or disposing of animal waste. Fish tank water should not be disposed of, and animal enclosures should not be cleaned, in a sink or fountain that is also used for drinking water or food preparation.
Injuries and Animal Escapes
The nurse, Building Administrator/Program Administrator, and an injured student’s parents/guardians must be notified immediately of all animal bites, scratches, or other injuries. The appropriate public health and/or animal control officials shall also be notified, as appropriate.
If an animal escapes, all building staff should be notified to take extra precautions until the animal is retrieved. Students should not be involved in the recapturing of an escaped animal. The appropriate animal control officials should be contacted, as appropriate.
This regulation does not apply to service animals defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. For guidance on service animals, please see JLCG/JLCG-R.
Middle school and high school science class work and science projects involving animals must be under the supervision of a science teacher or other trained professional.