Pets Slither into Classrooms


Mylie Dunn

George the snake crawls on his owner’s arm on April 14. George is a 5-year-old Ball Python who lives at Nixa High School.

   Slithering snakes scare some people except William Dennis. In his class room at Nixa High School animals are encouraged to come. Some may be frightened but fear not, George, his class room snake is friendly to all. 

   William Dennis is a science teacher at NHS. He has a specific set of rules he enforces in his classroom. 

   “You can hold George when you want, but I have a rule against torturing others,” Dennis said. By torrturing others he means that if someone says that they do not want to be touched by the snake or they do not want to hold the snake, then you must respect that.

   Dr. Dennis then goes to explain some mishaps in the past. 

   “Every now and then he will crawl into someones bag,” Dennis said. “Though when it comes to him escaping his cage, that has only happened once.” 

 Even though George has escaped in the past, Dr. Dennis still shared that George is very calm and mellow. He also shared that George is not skittish at all. 

   “I think it helps students feel more involved. It is not that much different from the therapy dog,” Dennis said. “In a way it makes students want to be here and want to care.” 

   Some concerns may be raised with having pets in the classroom but Dr. Dennis puts those concerns to rest. 

   “I have had snakes in the past and I have always liked them. They never chew things up and are easy to take care of,” Dennis said. 

   In the end Dennis said animals belong in classrooms. 

   “Yes, I wish every teacher had a class pet. It is good for the environment of the classroom,” Dennis said. “Almost all of us have a pet at home so it extends home to my classroom.”