ANIMALS IN SCHOOLS
The Tacoma School District
acknowledges its responsibility to permit students, parents/guardians, family
members, employees, and community members with disabilities to be accompanied
by a “service animal” consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WALD) on school property and on
school buses or at school activities.
A “service animal” is an animal
that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of
assisting or accommodating a disabled person’s sensory, mental, or physical
disability. The animal must be trained to engage in specific actions or tasks
to assist its handler with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a
service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. An
animal whose sole function is as a pet or to provide comfort or emotional
support does not qualify as a service animal under this Regulation or law.
ALL OTHER ANIMALS ON CAMPUS
With the exception of service
animals, animals are not allowed on District campuses during school hours
unless specifically approved by the Principal. Many animals, while well-behaved
normally, may act aggressively under the increased input of a school campus
where students and adults are moving constantly. School hours are meant to
include classroom periods, the period of time before and after school when
students are entering and exiting the school, and during after-school
activities when students are present.
Parents or guardians walking
their animals and the student as part of the arrival or departure process must
keep their animals off the school grounds. Animals remaining in vehicles while
visiting the campus are not restricted except that owners should keep windows
and other openings restricted to prevent children from reaching into the
ANIMALS IN CLASSROOMS
Safety precautions are needed
to prevent or lessen the severity of personal injury or illness, define actions
to be taken in the event of injury or illness due to animals, and set
procedures for humane treatment and handling of animals.
Allowing any animal into the
school building or on the school grounds is at the Principal’s discretion.
Before a classroom “adopts” a pet, the teacher should evaluate the
appropriateness of the animal of interest and the long-term utility of the
educational objective for having the animal in the classroom. The teacher must
then develop a plan of daily care for the animal (including weekends, holiday
breaks and end of school year), a plan for access and to pay for veterinary
care if potentially needed, and an exit plan for the animal if it has to be
removed from the school. Under no circumstance will the District be responsible
to pay for the veterinary care of any classroom pet.
Prior to adopting a pet for the
classroom, arrangements must be made in advance for the feeding and care of the
pet(s) on weekends and during school vacations. Requesting students or their
families to assume this responsibility will not be permitted. However, adult
family members may volunteer their services if they so wish. It is essential to
find good, qualified summer caretakers who are interested in caring for a pet.
should select a veterinarian for the classroom pet and have instructions for
the evening custodian and weekend or holiday care giver should an emergency
arise. If a teacher is assuming the responsibility of having a classroom pet,
they are also assuming the responsibility for all expenses related to the care
of the classroom pet, including regular and emergency veterinarian care.
must submit the daily care plan, the veterinary care, and an exit plan for the
animal when to the Principal for consideration and approval when making the
request for having a classroom plan. The Principal will use this Regulation in
making his/her decision regarding the request. Principal approval is required
on an annual basis and may be revoked by the Principal or a District
administrator at any time.
notice will be sent to each child’s parent before obtaining a classroom pet. At
the parent’s request, a student may be excluded from the class for health
reasons or the “adoption” may be refused. This process must be repeated
annually for each new group of students and for new students enrolling
& Animal Sensitivities
staff members with allergies or sensitivities to animals must be accommodated.
Location of the pet, cleanliness, and indoor air quality concerns must be
addressed. If adequate accommodations cannot be made, the pet must be removed
or the “adoption” denied.
Appropriate for the Classroom
constitute the only animals that a teacher may request as a classroom animal.
must be cleaned and cared for regularly. Used tank water must be disposed of in
sinks that are not used for food preparation or drinking water.
Animals - Guinea pigs, hamsters, mice and rats
such as guinea pigs, hamsters, mice and rats can make good classroom pets if
proper care is taken to avoid incidents.
Snakes, Reptiles and Amphibians
Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington recommends the following short list of reptiles
for classroom study:
Constrictor (< 6 feet long)
bred in captivity will be allowed. Reptiles are a long-term acquisition. Many
live for 10 to 20 years or more. Careful research on behavior patterns and
required care is recommended before acquiring a classroom reptile.
and aquariums should be as natural as possible and maintained appropriately.
should not be kissed or touched by a child’s face.
and amphibians can carry salmonella, even when bred as pets or for display.
Hands must always be washed after handling a reptile, as should all surfaces
the reptile has touched. Hands should be washed immediately after handling
animals with warm water and soap. If reptiles are placed outside their
aquarium, be sure to clean the area(s) afterwards with a disinfectant cleaner.
Carefully clean desks or tables used for eating. Use a toilet or utility sink
(not a kitchen or hand washing sink) to empty tank water.
Herpetocultural Library Series is an excellent resource for information about
Handling of Classroom Pets
animals must eventually be found permanent homes. Animals that receive good
care make better pets. The teacher must keep bedding clean and dry and cages
well ventilated. Cages are required to be designed to keep bedding and/or
absorbent materials inside the cage and not allowed to accumulate
bedding/litter/food on counters or floors.
receive appropriate amounts and types of foods on a regular basis and have
fresh water available at all times. Use a metal screen or net to keep combustible
bedding material from touching lights or heat lamps. Be sure that pets are not
exposed to extreme temperatures, especially heat radiating through sunny
windows. Buildings may not be heated or ventilated over weekends and holidays
which may cause discomfort for some animals.
contact with animals must be organized and supervised. Gloves must be worn when
handling animals. Hands must be washed after gloves are removed. Children must
not be allowed to touch animals with their faces, hold animals close to their
faces, nor hold animals too tightly. Feeding should be handled by an adult.
If a student
or staff member has an incident with the classroom pet, or if there are
allergic symptoms present, then the Principal must be notified. If the incident
involved student exposure to the animal or animal products where the skin has
been broken or other cause for concern is present, then the parent or guardian
must be contacted by the Principal or delegate. If the Principal needs advice
on the handling of the incident or issue, the Safety Manager may be consulted.
Special Education and Related Services for Eligible Students
Education of Students with Disabilities under Section 504
Nondiscrimination and Equity
Disabilities Act (ADA), Revised Title II Regulations, Section 35 Service
Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Discrimination – Purpose of Chapter
Freedom for Discrimination – Declaration of Civil Rights
Blind, Handicapped, and Disabled Persons – Declaration-- Policy
“Service Animal” Defined
Public Accommodations, Disability Discrimination
392-145-021(3) General Operating Requirements
392-172A-01035 Child with a Disability or Student eligible for Special
WAC 392-190 Equal Educational Opportunity – Unlawful