WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – An elementary school in Washington was reprimanded by the Department of Health for teaching with animals in the classroom that are illegal to own in the District.
The Department of Health reportedly told the principal at Miner Elementary in Northeast the school’s frogs, toads, tadpoles, geckos, scorpions, tarantulas, chameleons and bearded dragons are all illegal under D.C. law and had to go.
The Examiner says the government agency threatened to seize the animals from the elementary school causing objections from D.C. Public Schools. Spokesperson Melissa Salmanowitz said her school system would be rejecting the health department’s demands to remove the animals from the department.
“These animals are integral to the indoor and outdoor learning environments at Miner,” Salmanowitz told the Examiner. “We have no plans to remove the animals from Miner and deprive students of these unique learning opportunities.”
According to the report, the Department of Health discovered the plethora of banned animals while reviewing the school’s pet inventory after the death of a classroom guinea pig in July. The D.O.H. concluded that 37 animals in the school were against regulation.
Lawmakers stepped in to fight for the school when D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells introduced emergency legislation to keep the animals in the school.
“These are animals that we’ve found in American classrooms since we began public education, whether it be a classroom rabbit or a lizard,” Wells told The Examiner.
A spokesperson from the mayor’s office said they will get the Department of Health and D.C.PS on the same page.