January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Science Safety Tip #3

Posted: Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

by Dean Gilbert

The use of live animals as part of K-12 science instruction can offer multiple opportunities for students to engage and refine their observation skills as well as instill a general respect of and humane treatment for all life.  Here are some helpful safety tips to think about:

  • Any handling of animals by students must be carefully supervised; parent permission slips should be kept on file.
  • Never mishandle or mistreat animals.
  • A safety lesson should be given to teach students how to care for and treat classroom animals
  • Animals caught in the wild should never be brought into the classroom
  • After handling animals, students must wash their hands with soap.
  • Reptiles are possible carriers of Salmonella; check guidelines for classroom suitability.
  • Be aware of animals students might encounter while on a field trip
  • At no time should dissection be done on an animal corpse unless it was specifically purchased from a reliable supplier.
  • Never keep animals preserved in formaldehyde in your classroom or school.
  • Students planning science fair research projects involving vertebrate animals must adhere to the California Education Code requirements for experiments with animals:

Any student research involving animals must comply with the requirements of the State of California Education Code Title 2, Division 2, Part 28, Chapter 4, Article 5, 51540:

In the public elementary and high school-sponsored activities and classes held elsewhere other than on school premises, live vertebrate animals shall not, as part of a scientific experiment or any purpose whatever:

(a) Be experimentally medicated or drugged in a manner to cause painful reactions or induce painful or lethal pathological conditions.

(b)  Be injured through any treatments, including, but not limited to, anesthetization or electric shock.

Live animals on the premises of a public elementary or high school shall be housed and cared for in a humane and safe manner.

The provisions of this section are not intended to prohibit or constrain vocational instructions in the normal practices of animal husbandry.

For further information:  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgibin/calawquery?codesection=edc&codebody=&hits=20

Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of CSTA.

One Response

  1. It would be more appropriate to say “preserved with formalin”. Formaldehyde is a gas.
    jim@labsafety.org

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

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CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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California Science Teachers Association

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.