Classrooms Hatch Insensitivity

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to the editor:

everyone oohs and aahs when they see baby chicks hatching from eggs in classrooms, but what they don't know is the ugly truth about these inhumane lessons.

i know that, at my daughter's public elementary school many years ago, several of the chicks were born deformed because they were left at school one weekend and no one was told the eggs had to be turned every so often, like the mother hen would do if the eggs were in a nest. when the deformed and crippled babies hatched, the children were horrified, and the birds suffered terribly.

i found out for myself about how these projects work when my son's private pre-school decided to do a chick-hatching. each classroom got 12 eggs, so there were 48 in all. after i found out that once we were done with them the chicks would be returned to the farm and slaughtered for meat, i set about trying to find the animals a home.

amazingly, i found a vet with a farm in new jersey who said she would be willing to take them all, and set up a webcam so our kids could watch them live out their lives on the farm. but a couple of teachers felt that this plan undermined their authority and made them look bad for choosing to have the hatching project to begin with, so they wouldn't allow the chicks to go to a safe haven.

what are we teaching our children? are we such a disposable culture? are we so afraid to teach our children the truth about what happens to these chicks after the hatching project is done? if we're not willing to tell children the truth, and we're not willing to be responsible stewards for the lives we "create," then these hatching projects should not be allowed in classrooms at all.

emily a. fano

new york city

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