Classroom benefits from pet rabbit's presence
Lincoln Elementary Teacher Natalie Griffin's fifth-grade class has an extra student this year, Midnight the rabbit.
When fourth-grade teacher Comfort Keidel's rabbit had kittens, several Lincoln classes received pets.
Griffin's students were particularly excited because many of them were in Kleidel's class last year.
"A rabbit gives us something to do. I like having a rabbit roaming around," Jake Spencer said.
According to Griffin, Midnight has aided in alleviating student anxiousness and teaching responsibility.
"He's not a bother. He blends right in," she said. "When I watch the children hold the rabbit, it's peaceful."
All of the students help care for Midnight, making sure he is fed and bathed.
"It's a big responsibility, so the students learn how to be responsible," Griffin said.
Rayven Sheehy has pet rabbits at home and hopes to one day be a veterinarian. She helped the class potty-train Midnight, who now has his own litter box inside his cage.
"You just put the litter box in the cage, set the rabbit by it and hope it hops in," Sheehy said. "Eventually it will learn more and more what to do."
Students regularly clean Midnight with baby wipes.
"Sometimes he lays in the kitty litter, and that's why we have to clean him," Austin Woodell said.
The class voted to decide Midnight's name.
"I liked the name Midnight because he's black but has a twinkle in his eyes," Lindsay Fogle said.
When students are reading or working on an assignment, Midnight can often be found hopping around the classroom.
"Whenever he wants to be picked up, he jumps on your lap, and he will follow you around the classroom," Derick Peters said.
Many students will hold him in their lap or set him on top of their desk while they work.
"I hold him when I'm reading. It feels comfortable," Jada Terry said.
Midnight also gives kisses.
"He'll lick your nose, and it tickles," Aaron Thomason said.
Midnight knows the class's schedule and responds accordingly. However, he also has his own rabbit-sized leash and cape for going out.
"When we go to recess, he'll go in the cage, or we'll take him outside on his leash," Valerie Harper said.
Midnight is truly a part of the class.
"I wanted to branch out of my comfort zone," Griffin said. "I have not had a lot of pets before, but the children have loved it."