Time after time you will hear kids beg to have a furry friend with them especially in the classroom. This may seem like a very good idea, but when you break it down and look at it under scrutiny you may finally be able to see the reality. I believe that pets should not be allowed in the classroom. This is my belief because its unnatural for the animals, the animals are at risk for abuse, and there are many health risks associated with keeping an animal especially in the classroom. I hope to persuade you with these reasons so you too will see why pets should not be allowed in classrooms.
My first reason is that it is unnatural for animals to live in a classroom setting. It is unnatural for any animal to be in captivity but especially in a classroom setting where the pet’s much more susceptible to things like loud noises and other things that it would not normally ave to deal with outside of a classroom setting. According to the article What’s the Problem With Classroom "Pets?" "When sensitive animals are confined to a small cage or tank in a classroom their needs and natural instincts are almost always ignored." Another example of pets unnatural surroundings come with the common choice of animal for the classroom, the hamster. These small furry mammals may seem like an easy choice but these small furry friends along with other animals are nocturnal and the bright lights, loud noise, and attention they receive keeps them up most of the day disrupting their normal sleeping patterns. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pets in a classroom being unnatural, it is unnatural for any animal to be in an environment other than its own, but this becomes even more true when all the factors of a school come into play.
My second reason is that any animal within the classroom is at risk for abuse, even unintentionally. Whether they like it or not the pet in the classroom with be getting a lot of attention that it may or may not want. For example, according to the article Pass on Classroom Pets, on www.humanesociety.org “Even accidental rough handling can cause an otherwise social animal to become timid and defensive.” This may be seemingly harmless but it can make a big difference to the pet and its role in the class. We should not keep pets in the classroom but if you did you wouldn't want a timid animal that's afraid of all the kids because of some unintentional abuse. You may think that this could never happen in our school, we would take great care of our pet. It can though and it is just a fact that classroom pets are at a high risk for abuse so why not just eliminate the risk all together and keep pets out of the classroom?
My third and final reason is that there are many health risks associated with pets in the classrooms. Again according to Whats the Problem With Classroom “Pets”? “Many kids have allergies, which can be exacerbated by the presence of certain animals. Bacteria such as salmonella can be spread by the handling of reptiles and frogs, and rodents such as hamsters can carry transmittable diseases, too.” Allergies can be miserable and according to the AAFA 40% of children suffer from allergies and 15-30 percent of people with seasonal allergies will also be reactive to pet dander. Also according to www.animalplanet.com 7 out of 15 kids whose parents have pet allergies do too. So why would you want to take the chance of disease/sickness spreading in the classroom if its very easily avoidable? Plus setting up for a pet is a lot of work for the teacher. After getting all the medical information for each kid and the animal they must also send out a notice to all guardians informing them on the pet and what is going on. So again, why not avoid the medical risks and work and stay pet free in the classroom environment.
Some people believe that having a classroom pet builds responsibility, that having to care for the pet by cleaning and feeding it will improve the the responsibility skills of the children. There are many other ways to teach and learn responsibility especially in a school setting where on of the main goals and focuses is to learn and practice responsibility by turning in homework and getting to class on time. Another argument people commonly use is that a pet is a good educational tool that you can have in the classroom but this is just simply not the best tool available in this day and age. Today there have been so many educational advances that the use of a pet as a tool may be "fun" but it is not nearly as effective as tools such as, the online resources we now have today and if you're looking for hands on why not try using an experiments kit or other things that allow hands on learning besides an animal.
In conclusion, classroom pets should not be allowed in any classroom because they are put into an unnatural environment, the animals are put into situations where they may experience abuse, and there are many health risks associated with pets in the classroom for the pet and everyone/students in the classroom. It is important for pets to not be allowed into classroom setting because even though there are benefits to animals in a learning environment the evidence on the flip side is just as strong, maybe stronger. There are just too many variables associated with having a pet in the classroom for it to be a good idea. By having a classroom pet you are putting children with allergies, you're reputation, and the animal at risk. Kids with unknown allergies will be miserable if this animal triggers them. If the pet backfires and it doesn't work at all the blame will come to you, for choosing to have pets in the classroom. And as stated above the animal is at risk for a fair amount of abuse even unintentional. So I will now leave you with this information to do with as you please. It is my hope that because I have showed you a tiny glimpse into the reality of classroom pets that I have helped a child, a reputation, an animal, and you to see the truth about pets in a classroom.
Molly Fabian, grade 7, Sauk Prairie Middle School, Sauk City