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Johnson High School Debuts Virtual Dissection Program With PETA Grant

Joey Palacios
TPR News
Students will be able to use this browser-based program to dissect frogs, squid, starfish, pigs, and cats.

Lady Bird Johnson High School in North East ISD is embracing a new program to take dissection out of the classroom and move it onto computers.

This program is called Froguts and next fall it will be in every biology classroom at Johnson High School.

Like many schools these days, Johnson currently uses fetal pigs for dissection, at a cost of $4,000 dollars per year. Jenine Bertolotti, the dean of the science department at Johnson, said the cost was 80 percent of her budget.

“Spending about 80 percent of your funding specifically on an activity that lasts for four days just seemed a little ridiculous,” Bertolotti said.

Texas allows students to decline dissection for another method. Bertoliotti said after learning how dissection animals are obtained she took a stance against it and approached PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which has a grant program to supply the Froguts program to the classroom.

PETA Director of Laboratory Investigation Justin Goodman said he has seen in increase in use of similar programs and believes there is a shift to non-animal methods.

“It’s  cheaper and less time intensive for teachers because there is no messy clean-up and there’s no setup," Goodman said.

The program is free for about two years under the PETA grant. After that it’s about $300 per year.

With it you can dissect frogs, squids, starfish, fetal pigs, and cats with guided instruction. About 700 biology students will use Forguts starting next year. The district said it has the potential to expand other high schools within North East ISD.