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Posted by David Culp on May 27, 2001 at 19:16:03:
In Reply to: Re: Herps in the classroom posted by Ed Stone DVM on April 23, 2001 at 23:45:43:
Two years ago I began teaching middle school science in TX. I moved into my new classroom and brought my snakes and lizards with me. I did not really think it was an issue. I had the blessing of the schools principal and the head of the science department who both thought it was a neat idea to expose the kids to the animals.
Well, if only all the other teachers could have had th same attitude! I keep no venomous reptiles or large snakes in the classroom at all.
One of the teachers had a massive fit over my animals in the room, and tried to get them removed.
She talked to the principal, no good. She then mass emailed everyone in the school (except me), the email said something like this:
A certain teacher in this school is keeping dangerous and deadly animals in his classroom. These animals are highly dangerous and carry deadly diseases and bacteria. I urge all teachers not to enter this teachers classroom and have all kids wash their hands before entering your classroom or touching you if they have been in this certain teachers classroom. It is only a matter of time before something happens.
The email went on for a bit more but you get the point. It then became a joke among other teachers, as they would pass me in the hall they would say "Oh God, theres that dangerous teacher, stay away!!!"
Well, she then threatend to call the health dept. I have anti-bacterial soap in the classroom and the kids are trained to wash their hands after handling the animals, they all do it automatically. I am very safe and never endanger the animals or the kids. In fact I no longer keep my monitor in the classroom because of its size, it has never bit anyone but I will not take that chance now that it has gotten large, it stays at home with me. Anyways, she had no luck going that route.
Then she complained that the animals were stinking up the hallway. It was an odor that only she could smell.
Now then, this may sound like fun to you, but the fun has not begun yet. You see, during the year last year I had an escape, yep, one of my ball pythons (a baby at 18 inches)got out. I would go into the details of its escape and how it happened but I am trying to make it short (really!!!). Well, news spread like wild-fire that one of my snakes was on the loose (actually we believed it to be stolen at the time). Well not long after the news broke an email was sent by the above referenced teacher to everyone in school. This is what it said:
One of Mr. Culps snakes is on the loose. This is a very dangerous animal and I urge everyone to take action. I have set out rat poison around my classroom and urge everyone else to do the same. If you encounter this animal I urge you ro kill it immediatly before it harms someone!
To make a long story short, we found the snake 4.5 months later, safe and doing well in a book closet. She brought up the issue of RAS on numerous occasions but I was able to defend against it as I keep antibacterial soap in the room and everyone uses it. I go through LOADS of paper towels!!! She even once claimed that a rash she had broken out in was caused by my reptiles, even tho she is on the other side of the school!!!
In the end, I got to keep the animals in the classroom but it really opened my eyes to how much some people hate reptiles.