Education

Plug Pulled on Frog Advocate’s TV Ad

November 25, 1987 1 min read

To Apple Computer officials, it seemed a natural.

Hire Jenifer Graham, the California high-school student who got national media attention last year when she refused to dissect a frog in her biology class. Put her beside a computer with Apple’s “Operation Frog” program on the screen. And voila, a 30-second commercial on the value of computers in the schools.

“We wanted to show how the Apple II GS could stimulate learning in the classroom,” explained Barbara Krause, a company spokesman.

But what the computer firm did not anticipate was the passionate response Ms. Graham’s anti-dissection stance could stir. Last week, Ms. Krause confirmed that Apple had suspended indefinitely any plans for further airing of the commercial.

The advertisement was pulled, she said, after it became a point of conflict “between animal-rights groups and university-research advocates over the question of animal research.”

Apple officials had decided to use Ms. Graham after reviewing the hundreds of supporting letters--many from teachers--she had received.

Now a senior at the Victor Valley Union High School, the student is introduced in the ad with the screen title “Frog Advocate.”

“I didn’t want to hurt a living thing,” she says on camera. “I said I would be happy to do it on an Apple computer. That way, I can learn and the frog lives.”

“But that got me into a lot of trouble, and I got a lower grade,” she explains, stroking a live frog on the neck. “So this year, I’m using my Apple II to study something entirely new--constitutional law.”

The legal reference is to Ms. Graham’s lawsuit, now pending in federal district court in Los Angeles, which charges that officials at her high school acted unconstitutionally in denying her an alternative to dissection. The suit seeks to restore her original grade in the course, which was lowered from an A to a B.--rrw

A version of this article appeared in the November 25, 1987 edition of Education Week as Plug Pulled on Frog Advocate’s TV Ad