Imagine you’re back in high school, sitting in math class and you are suddenly surrounded by the smell of death. You think the zombie apocalypse is upon you, but you realize the smell is emanating from one of your classmate’s backpacks. You ask them, “What’s in your bag?” He is silent and opens his bag to reveal the corpse of a frog.

This actually happened in my high school — how many other schools has it occurred in?

Now that I’m an English major, I can’t say I know that much about biology. All I know is that I was scarred in biology class by the dissections. It wasn’t just frogs. There was also a worm and what I believe was a cricket. Apparently in some states and colleges there are also pigs, rats, mice and rabbits.

I know we didn’t kill the frogs, but it was eerie for me to think, “Where did my seemingly harmless biology teacher get 30 well-preserved dead frogs?” This was after the Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog” came out.

After speaking to some biology majors, I can confirm that dissecting a frog is only useful to students going into the medical field. My best friend, who is studying to be a doctor, found it interesting and a little bit like practice surgery. She did, however, admit that there isn’t a whole lot that a person can do with that experience. I’m still waiting for the day when my knowledge of frog organs will help me write a great American novel.

I’m an animal rights supporter. I can’t really say activist; other than making lifestyle changes, I haven’t really joined a protest or group or anything.

So imagine me, someone who loves animals and has just seen “The Princess and the Frog,” seeing a box of dead frogs flopped on a table and passed around to a bunch of 16-year-olds. It was sickening.

Imagine it in reverse, a bunch of massive frogs surrounding a dead human, performing a rather unorthodox autopsy and giggling, joking as they probe.

Two years ago, one of my younger friends took biology and when they dissected frogs, he stole an extra dead frog, put it in his bag and carried it around school the rest of the day. The teacher didn’t notice, therefore he wasn’t stopped. I feel like the school was asking for this. If you provide dead frogs to emotionally unstable teenagers who are in their “so random” phase, what on earth do you think is going to happen?

When I asked my biology teacher where he got his frogs, he said he ordered them online, which only raised more questions. Where did the people he bought them from get the frogs? Obviously all of these frogs are taken from the wild or raised in labs, killed for the purpose of dissection or some other scientific use.

Investigating the organs of a dead organism is, apparently, the American school system way. Instead of needlessly dissecting real dead animals, perhaps we could dissect virtual frogs on the computer. We would still be learning the biology and getting the practice, but those who are rather squeamish wouldn’t be scared — and boys couldn’t steal frogs and stash them in their backpacks. We could also dissect plastic frogs. There are lifelike toy humans that medical students use to practice surgery. It wouldn’t be hard to make reusable plastic frogs to use in biology class.

If you’re passionate about stopping animal dissection in schools go ahead and visit this website: https://www.petakids.com/save-animals/dissection-guide/.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

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