At the back of the classroom she sat slumped, annoyed and disliking biology and school in general. The handout gave directions for the next lab scheduled for later in the week. Frog dissection? Gross, she thought. Why do I need to cut open a dead frog to see it’s guts? I have a textbook with all that information so what is the purpose? Without another thought her plan was in place. She didn’t realize it at the time but for the first time in her life she was defying her elders for something she believed was wrong. Raised in a strict household where children were best seen and not heard this felt wrong but thrilling. Just the thought of breaking the rules was a head rush. She could barely contain herself for the rest of the class. Suddenly energized, what she could never know was that her life would never ever be the same.
As the minutes ticked until the bell rang the girls bathroom at the high school was no different than any other. More a social than functional place filled with girls crowding the mirrors fixing lip gloss and chattering loudly mostly about boys and clothes. She picked the stall furthest from the door and waited. The crowd slowly thinned and the room became still. The ringing in her ears and rapid heartbeat a signal that this time cutting class was not for the usual reason, going to the mall. This time it was for ethical reasons. Always a bit of a rebel, a self proclaimed tough girl who never let anyone or anything get to her, at least on the outside. Show me a teenage girl who doesn’t, in her own private thoughts, have doubts about herself and I will give up cookies forever. I would like to tell you that there was a bit commotion with sirens and fireworks but alas nothing. The 45 minutes ticked by incredibly slowly as her legs began to ache from her perch on the toilet to keep her feet off the floor and away from the possibility of a truant sweep through the bathroom. Occasionally someone would enter the bathroom. Almost certain they could hear her labored breathing from the next stall and her cover would be blown she held her breath only exhaling as the sound of their footsteps would retreat down the hallway. As the period came to an end and the hallways and bathroom once again were filled with students she emerged from her hiding spot to make her way to her next class. Never telling another soul for fear of ridicule. For being “afraid” to dissect a frog.
When her biology teacher inquired as to her absence she mumbled a vague wasn’t feeling well reply. She was told she would have to make up the lab to which she only nodded slightly. She kept a low profile for the rest of the year, sneaking past her biology teacher coming and going. Hoping that she would forget the whole thing. Some people don’t believe prayers work but she knew otherwise because as the year came to a close there was never again mention of the missing lab. Only after her final exam and subsequent report card and a B in bio was she able to breath again.
After graduation and acceptance to a large metropolitan art school she vowed to never ever take biology again. Of course we know that in order to graduate even with an art degree one must take biology. Full of anxiety the first day of class she approached her professor and meekly asked if they would be dissecting anything that semester. He could clearly see her wariness and assured her that in his biological science class there would be no dissection. The weight that lifted from her shoulders that day was like getting a new lease on life as she knew at that moment that she would be able to finish school. From graduation to work to kids to adopting a cat to adopting first one dog then another and then to rescue a smallish laboratory beagle and naming her Juno. Thank you Mommy for taking a stand even though you didn’t realize it at the time.
Luv n Wags,
For some practical information about public and private school policies and the laws in some states that do not require a child to participate in any type of animal dissection please visit