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PETA honors LI boy who stopped frog dissections

Nesconset fourth-grader Gabriel Cruz from the The Ivy

Nesconset fourth-grader Gabriel Cruz from the The Ivy League School in Smithtown helped spearhead a change in the years-old policy on dissecting frogs. (Jan. 10, 2011) Credit: John Griffin

A Nesconset boy’s quest to halt frog dissections at his school has earned him a national award from an animal rights group.

Gabriel Cruz — the 9-year-old student who successfully got dissections banned from science classes at the private Ivy League School in Smithtown — has received a Kids Compassionate Action Award from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals based on his efforts.

Gabriel told Newsday last week that he became alarmed after learning from his older brother that he would be expected to dissect a frog as part of the fourth-grade curriculum.

“I didn’t want to do it,” said Gabriel, who owns two African dwarf frogs. “I like frogs. I didn’t feel that it was right.”

After researching the subject, Gabriel made his case to his teacher, Lucille Capobianco, and his parents arranged a meeting with the school principal. The school went through with this year’s dissection because the plan was already in place, but school officials promised to permanently replace frog dissection with computer-simulation software in the future.

“Thanks to Gabriel, Ivy League School has set a progressive example that will hopefully be followed by other schools,” Justin Goodman, PETA’s associate director of laboratory investigations, said in a statement. “Frogs and other animals shouldn’t die for dissection when superior, non-animal methods for teaching biology have been used for years.”

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