Debate photos courtesy of families; (all other images)

Should Schools Have Classroom Pets?

When students leave Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences each day, Cleo stays behind. Why? Cleo is a classroom pet. She’s a bearded dragon, a type of reptile. 

Some people say classroom pets help students feel less anxious and improve behavior. For instance, students might not raise their voices to keep the pet calm.

But other people think classrooms aren’t good homes for pets. They are often left alone overnight and on weekends. Some people also worry that busy classrooms can be stressful places for the animals. Kids poking cages can upset pets.

Here’s what two of our readers think.

Caring for pets helps teach kids responsibility. We had chickens as classroom pets. We took care of them and fed them. Our teachers made the chickens part of science class.

Having animals in the classroom can help reduce stress. I know of one study about pet owners in the U.S. Three out of four owners say their mental health has improved thanks to their pets.

I like animals, but there are risks in keeping pets in classrooms. First, some kids are allergic to animal fur. Their allergies can get bad just by having a hamster in the room. Also, some pets can carry diseases.

A pet can be a distraction for students too. Kids might not listen to their teacher because they’re paying attention to the animal instead.

What does your class think?

Should schools have classroom pets?

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Should schools have classroom pets?

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