Is there a benefit to class pets in schools?


Jack Boyd

Dante, a class pet at Manitou Springs High School, can be visited and interacted with by students who visit his classroom.

Jack Boyd, Senior Reporter

For years, classroom pets have been a debated topic among students, parents, and teachers. Classroom pets, as implied, are pets kept by the school in a specific classroom, usually cared for by the teacher and their respective students. People may wonder, is there a benefit to class pets?

Classroom pets are used commonly throughout the U.S for the purpose of education and formal learning regarding the pet. Classroom pets are also shown to have other benefits, such as helping to provide emotional and psychological support for young learners. However, having a class pet can also be a costly and taxing choice for a classroom, especially if a school does not provide a teacher money. In some cases, teachers must pay out of pocket for their classroom pets. This can impact the type of pet available to teachers and students to keep.

A American Humane Study tallies 30% of classroom pets in the U.S being fish, followed by 13% – 16% being guinea pigs. Seeing as how both animals are fairly low maintenance and easy to fit into a classroom setting, this certainly makes sense. A majority of the most popular classroom pets (with the exception of fish) are mammals, followed by reptiles.  

The general ideas teachers will explore and think about when adopting a classroom pet include size, classroom space, necessary care, student age, and possible allergies. Though there are other factors one must consider. It is also important that a teacher follow school protocol and procedure when going about adopting a class pet.

Manitou Springs High School houses some of its own classroom pets, one of which being Dante the Rabbit. While Dante is housed in the room of Spanish teacher, Paola Valladares, students from all across the school can see him anytime they are in her classroom, (provided the timing is appropriate.)

“I like Dante.” Kai Jacobson said. “He is so small and cute. I don’t know that most people should have class pets because a lot of them would be badly cared for, but the ones we have are a nice addition.”

As mentioned, there are several benefits often associated with housing a pet in a classroom. Western Governors University put some of the top benefits as the pets stimulating learning and teaching students responsibility.

To summarize, classroom pets have been shown to provide real and pertinent benefits to the students who help care and learn from them. Classroom pets can certainly be a hassle, but the proven pros certainly outweigh the cons. In my opinion, classroom pets are a worthy and helpful friend to keep in the classroom.