2005-03-31 / Editorials

Practical solution ignored regarding animals at Conejo Elementary School

Practical solution ignored regarding animals at Conejo Elementary School

The most important people in public education—children—were treated as second-class citizens last week at Conejo Elementary School when a collection of animals had to be removed from the campus. To make matters worse, some of the most avid fans of the animals were youngsters with special needs.

The teacher behind the program, Gail Armey, will be retiring in June from a career that spans more than three decades. It’s obvious that she’s a dedicated teacher who cares about kids. Armey has observed the positive effects that animals have on children. The kids, in turn, have learned about the responsibilities of taking care of animals. They’ve watched them grow, mature and eventually die.

These are important lessons about life.

Children with emotional problems, according to experts, get special benefits from animals. Medical authorities have known for years that interacting with animals makes people more relaxed and serene. When people young or old handle or observe animals, blood pressure goes down and smiles go up.

Sadly, it was probably a parent who complained to city hall. The objection was turned over to the Agoura Animal Shelter, which would have eventually taken the animals away had they not been already transferred to a petting zoo.

Armey was given no chance to correct the problems. Instead, to appease the questionable motives of one selfish individual, the children are without their animals.

The kids now suffer the consequences of shortsighted and misguided decisions of public servants who failed to find a practical solution.

Common sense didn’t matter and the welfare of children was ignored.

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