I will never forget Freshman Biology class. It's not because the material was particularly riveting or because I was eager to embark upon my career as a scientist. No, it was because of the frogs. The dead frogs, that is.
Like most biology courses around the country, mine required students to dissect animals in the name of scientific research. And while I do understand the principle behind the curriculum, my own principles questioned the need to "euthanize" so many small animals in order to understand them more clearly.
I'm lucky. My school was hippy-dippy enough that I was allowed skip the dissection and learn what I needed from a book. Fortunately, students today have a lot more choices when it comes to dissection alternatives.
For starters, about 15 states have laws on the books requiring schools to offer humane alternatives to dissection at a student's request. Is yours one? Check here.
If your state doesn't have a law about dissection alternatives, you may still be able to avoid dissection by speaking directly to your teacher or school administrators. Clearly explain what it is about dissection that bothers you, and offer possible alternatives.
You might even be able to suggest doing a virtual dissection or ask your school if they would consider purchasing a school-wide virtual dissection model.