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October 6, 2009

Student honored for refusing dissection assignment

By: RACHEL CANELLI The Intelligencer

The next time a Catholic high school student gets queasy over the idea of dissecting an animal in science class, he or she can put down the scalpel.

With the help of Animalearn, a national animal protection group, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is instituting a new policy this school year that will allow pupils with concerns about animal dissection to use state-of-the-art virtual technology instead.

"As the 21st century evolves, greater use of virtual dissection experiences will be encouraged and eventually replace the use of scientifically preserved animals," Mary E. Rochford, superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said in a statement released Monday. "With the availability of virtual lab experiences and other Internet instructional tools, students can arrive at the same learning."

That's what Archbishop Wood High School graduate Megan Sweeney did.

She was recently named Animalearn's 2009 Humane Student of the Year for opting for an alternative assignment instead of dissecting animals in her biology class. The award includes a gift of dissection alternatives, including models and CD-ROMS for her alma mater.

"The archdiocese's student choice policy can serve as a model for other schools in the state of Pennsylvania, in addition to other dioceses across the U.S.," said Laura Ducceschi, director of Animalearn.

Rachel Canelli can be reached at 215-949-4191 or . the_intelligencer_news_details/article/27/2009/october/06/student-honored-for-refusing-dissection-assignment-1.html

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