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Student Choice Laws and Policies

Student choice laws and policies provide important tools for students and educators who do not want to participate in animal dissection and/or wish to incorporate innovative technology in the science classroom. Various states have adopted a wide range of options in which students and teachers can make this choice, but it is important to know what the laws and policies are in your own state. If your state does not have a law or policy already in place, consider sending a model law to your school board, state board of education or state legislators.

Student Choice States Map

States with informed student consent laws (K-12):

States with student choice policies:

  • Maine, 1990 (Department of Educational and Cultural Services Informational Letter #49)
  • Massachusetts, 2005 (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Policy on Dissection and Dissection Alternative Activities)
  • Michigan, 2014 (State Board of Education Policy)
  • New Hampshire, 2014 (State Department of Education policy)
  • New Mexico, 2005 (State Public Education Department Policy—Title 6, Chapter 29 Part 1 11 (b)(8))
  • Washington, D.C., 2012 (District of Columbia, Notice of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education)

States with policies that allow students to opt-out of any classroom activity, with consent of parents/guardians:

  • Arizona, 2014 (Arizona State Legislature, 15-102)
  • Hawaii, (Board of Education Policy #2210)
  • Minnesota, 1998 (MINN. STAT. § 120B.20 Parental Curriculum Review)
  • Texas, 1995 (Texas Education Code – Section 26.010. Exemption from Instruction)
  • Utah Administrative Code R277-105, Recognizing Constitutional Freedoms in the Schools, Repealed by Utah State Bulletin Number 2019-12, effective 5/23/2019

States with advisories, legislative resolutions, policies and agreements where local school districts retain control over curriculum:

  • Louisiana, 1992 (House Concurrent Resolution No. 153)
  • Maryland, 1997 (majority of individual county policies)