Connecticut may soon become the 15th state to forbid school districts from requiring students to participate or observe animal dissections.

The state House of Representatives Wednesday voted 131-8 in support of a bill that requires students be offered an alternative following their parents’ signing off on them not participating in the dissection lesson.

The Humane Society of the United States reports that 10 other states have passed similar laws, and four state education departments created policies providing the opportunity for students to opt out of these lessons.

The bill heads to the state Senate, where its fate is unclear.

Similar bills have routinely been introduced in the past, but have failed to make it through both chambers. In 2011, the House overwhelmingly approved a similar bill, but the Senate never acted.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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