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Arntz said the students shown abusing rats in the online videos were suspended and removed from the class.

When asked how the abuse could have happened without her knowledge, Arntz said her job as supervisor involves moving from place to place in the museum during a 100-minute class period. With 30 students and many more visitors, she said, there's often "a significant amount of things going on at once."

Arntz added that she can't speak to what happens over the weekends, when she's not present at the museum and student run the facility and have access to feeder rats along with the other animals.

Scott said the museum's CO2 chamber was installed on April 24, and it undergoes monthly checks to ensure that it's calibrated properly. Museum supervisors and animal control officers will now hold training sessions each fall and spring semester for students who want to participate in euthanasia.

Between January's animal control complaint and the first CO2 chamber training on May 20, Arntz said students have not been allowed to perform euthanasia on the rats.

But the student who initially uploaded the videos said that the mistreatment of feeder rodents did not end after the visit from animal control in January.

She said the most recent incident occurred two weeks ago during class, when a student killed young rats by hitting them on tables, and then proceeded to throw the bodies at another student.

Arntz said she is not aware of such an incident.

"I have disciplined students for far less than that," Arntz said. "That is horrific in my opinion. I would not allow that."

Another student, who was involved with the class last year, supported allegations of the mistreatment of rats during school. She said she witnessed a rat's head being smashed against a concrete stair.

"Rats were smacked against the staircase and rocks most often," the student wrote in an email, "although I did see a few people simply smash them on the ground."

Three students selected by the school to speak about the Museum Management class said that Arntz is an animal lover who would not harm any creature. They said they were not aware of any videos of animal abuse.

Lori Glenn, president of the museum's board of directors, said the museum board met last Friday in light of the emergence of an online petition asking Gov. Jerry Brown to shut down the museum. A link to the photos and videos is included in the online petition, filed by a Pittsburgh, Penn. resident at change.org/petitions/jerry-brown-shut-down-the-petaluma-wildlife-museum.

Glenn said the petition's author was "very misguided," but she did confirm that the videos were taken at the museum.

"We're doing our best to make sure that this never happens again," Glenn said. "I have tremendous respect for Kim Arntz. It's sad that this happened under our watch, but we don't condone that type of behavior."

Ultimately, Glenn said, the museum could end the rodent breeding program and go back to using frozen rats to feed the reptiles.

"If that would remove this cloud over the museum, then that's what I'll do," she said.

Located on the southwest corner of Petaluma High School's campus, the museum touts a unique program: It's entirely student-run, under the supervision of a teacher and a veterinarian.

High school students can take elective courses such as Wildlife Management or Museum Management at the museum, which focus on education in wildlife biology, animal husbandry and museum operations.

This is not the first problem the Petaluma Wildlife Museum has faced. The former teacher advisor, Marsi Wier, was accused in 2010 of mismanaging thousands of dollars in museum funds, spending the money on nail salons, child care and other personal expenses.