A video showing a Tampa science teacher juggling dead frogs in front of his students prompted PETA to ask the Florida Department of Education to ban classroom dissections.
The animal rights organization wrote a letter to state officials, saying the Sickles High School teacher's action "violates state education guidelines, as well as the policies of the National Science Teachers Association and the National Association of Biology Teachers, which state that teachers should treat animals respectfully and ethically."
The video, posted to Vine this spring, shows the teacher juggling three frogs in front of the class before a dissection lesson and calling them "flying frogs." When the teacher drops one of the frogs, a student can be heard shouting, "you suck!," while other students laugh in the background.
"Frogs used for dissection are torn away from their homes in the wild and killed," PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman said in a news release. "In classrooms like this one, students are taught that these abused animals are props and inanimate laboratory tools to be mocked, mutilated and discarded."
Neither the DOE or the unnamed science teacher in the video have commented publicly.
PETA says its staff biology teacher met with the Hillsborough Board of Education over the summer and was promised that action would be taken, but district science educators failed to show up for two meetings.
On Wednesday, Hillsborough schools spokesperson Tanya Arja said that after the video surfaced, the district gave their science department heads information from PETA about virtual dissections.
"We still see, as a district, that dissection is an important part of the curriculum for our students, and we do follow all state guidelines when it comes to dissection," Arja said. "But this is just information that we provided to our teachers, so if they wanted to do something else, they could."
District officials admit the video may not have been the best choice. They say the only penalty that teacher in the video received was a verbal reprimand from his principal and the district.
Parent Akira Johnson said she thinks the teacher was just trying to have fun with the students.
"I know when we were in school, it was just science, science, science, and it wasn't really too much fun," she said. "And he was just trying to interact more with the kids."
Parent Shara Thwaites-Diaz agrees.
"I mean, if you're abusing a live animal, then maybe," she said. "But the animal's gonna be dissected. It's a dead animal. Probably been in formaldehyde for some time, so I don't see the issue."
Dissecting a frog has been a right of passage for millions of middle schoolers. If PETA succeeds with the DOE, the unforgettable odor of formaldehyde will be kept from Florida classrooms.
"PETA is calling on the state to teach students to respect life and science -- and it can start by replacing cruel and archaic animal dissection with humane and more effective non-animal teaching methods," Goodman said.
Some 10 million animals are killed every year for dissection, according to PETA, which is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.