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IMG - Animals in School

Policy IMG

Adopted: February 16, 2017
Amended: November 16, 2023

The Hopkinton Public School District is committed to providing a high quality educational program to all students in a safe and healthy environment.

 School Principals in consultation with the school nurse shall review student health records to determine which animals may be allowed in the school building.


Educational Program

No animal shall be brought to school without prior permission of the building Principal. Use of animals, including classroom pets or therapy dogs, to achieve educational objectives may be allowed by the building Principal in consultation with the school nurse, provided student health and safety is not jeopardized and the individual requesting that the animal be brought to school is responsible for adhering to any other conditions established by the Principal to protect the health and well-being of students.


Student Health

The health and well being of students is the District's highest priority. Animals may cause an allergic reaction or otherwise impair the health of students. No animals may be brought to school or kept in the school, classroom, office or common area that may negatively impact the health of any student who must utilize that area. Animals that cause an allergic reaction or impair the health of students shall be removed from the school immediately so that no student shall have his/her/their health impaired and each student shall have full access to available educational opportunities.


Examples of Animals Prohibited from School

Fur-bearing animals are susceptible to rabies, a very serious and fatal disease. Infected animals can transmit this disease to students and staff. Based on the Massachusetts Department of Health and Education recommendations the following animals are prohibited from schools within the Hopkinton School District.


Wild Animals and Domestic Stray Animals - Because of the high incidence of rabies in bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and other wild carnivores, these animals should not be permitted in school buildings under any circumstances (including dead animals).


Poisonous Animals – Venomous spiders and insects and poisonous snakes, reptiles and lizards are prohibited for safety reasons.


Because of the high risk of salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis from baby chicks and ducks, these animals are inappropriate in schools without education on safe and proper handling procedures. Transmission of these diseases from chicks and ducklings to children is well- documented.


Although small rodents are considered to be low risk for rabies, all mammals are susceptible to rabies infection.  Classroom pets, particularly mammals, should be kept exclusively indoors in order to prevent interaction with wild animals that may be infected with rabies.  Students and their parents or guardians who volunteer to foster classroom pets during school vacations and summer should be educated on this risk and policy. 


Cross References:

Procedure References:

Buildings and Grounds Handbook

School Committee Policies