The Board recognizes that under the proper conditions, animals can be an effective teaching aid. In order to protect both students and animals, the following guidelines are adopted for use in all schools in the district.

1.      The bringing of animals into the classroom must not violate city/state/federal ordinances.

2.      The only animals and animal products (e.g., owl feces for dissection) allowed in a classroom must be for a specific and appropriate educational purpose and shall be allowed for the amount of time necessary to achieve the educational goal.

3.      Precautions should be taken to minimize transmission of all diseases and injuries (e.g., Salmonella, rabies, ringworm, bites, scratches, etc.)

4.      All animals must be in good physical condition and vaccinated against transmittable diseases. Dogs, cats, and ferrets require proof of current rabies vaccination.  Animals are to be kept clean and free of intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks, mites, and lice.

5.      Certain groups of people may be more susceptible to diseases, including infants, children, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.  Consult with parents to determine special considerations needed for students who are immunocompromised, who have allergies, or who have asthma.

6.      The teacher will be responsible for the proper control of animals brought to school for instructional purposes, including the effective protection of students when animals are in the school. This will include keeping the animal in an appropriate cage or container, supervising human-animal contact, and handling fecal material in a sanitary manner.

7.      No animals are to be allowed to run freely in the classrooms, food areas, or activity areas.

8.      Animal contact will occur only in designated areas.  Such areas shall be properly cleaned on a regular basis.  Food or drink should not be consumed in these areas.  These areas will be thoroughly cleaned when no longer used for animal contact.

9.      All fecal material must be cleaned from the cage of any mammal or bird on an as needed basis (at a minimum of one time per week), and appropriate sanitizer used.  Reptiles, fish, and insects must be cared for in a manner to minimize odor and maintain health.  Persons cleaning cages must wear gloves, masks, and glasses or goggles.  Cleaning should be performed by people older than 5 years and under the supervision of an adult.  Ideally, cleaning should be performed when other students are not in the room.

10.  Wash hands after contact with animals, animal products, or their environment.  Hand hygiene should be stressed, using verbal and written educational materials.

11.  Certain animals pose additional risks and contact should not be permitted with young students.  

12.  Wild or exotic animals are not permitted in classrooms, unless under the control of a professional.


It will be the responsibility of the teacher to provide for a plan of care for classroom housed animals in the event of an emergency school closing which might cause disruption of the routine care of the animals. In each school where these animals are housed, there should be a plan whereby the staff member who visits the school daily during the emergency closing will be aware of the animals' presence and see to their care. If no staff member visits the school daily in such circumstances, the teacher is responsible for the daily care of the animal(s).

Teachers must be contacted prior to having animals in their classroom. No animal shall be at school unless the teacher involved is familiar with the appropriate care, feeding, and handling of that animal and of any potential dangers caused by that animal.  It shall be the responsibility of the teacher to become familiar with each animal as it relates to the well being of the individual students in that particular classroom.

The principal shall be advised of any animals to be housed in the classroom. At the principal's discretion, permission to keep the animal may be denied based on considerations such as:  (1) the purpose for the animal's presence, (2) the ability of the teacher to control the animal, and/or (3) the past practice in the classroom.

Unauthorized Animals on School Grounds

Unauthorized animals are not allowed in school buildings or on school grounds.  Students and staff will be instructed to keep their own animals off the school grounds.  The appropriate town official will be called and requested to impound all animals taken into custody by school personnel.

The Superintendent shall develop procedures stating which animals are unauthorized as well as proper handling and caging procedures of animals in buildings or on school grounds.

Legal References:

National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc., Compendium of measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings, 2006.



Adopted:          April 12, 2012