Brentwood School to Receive Empathy Curricula From PETA After Teen’s Violent Attack on Cat

For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Brentwood, N.Y.

Following reports that a local teenager was charged with cruelty to animals after he reportedly used a metal bar to strike a black cat on the head outside Brentwood High School and a video of the reprehensible attack was posted on social media, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent the school’s acting principal, Dashana Dulin, an urgent letter today, along with kindness-to-animals educational materials, including Empathy Now, a guide to preventing violence by young people, and Challenging Assumptions, which helps students examine discrimination and other social justice issues. TeachKind is also offering class sets of Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk to the high school.

collage of AnimalKind cover and Teachkinds Empathy now cover

“When young people harm vulnerable animals in an apparent quest for social media notoriety, it’s clear how critical it is to be taught empathy from an early age,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Compassion can be cultivated, and TeachKind stands ready to help Brentwood High School teach its students that every sentient being, whether a cat or a classmate, deserves empathy and respect.”

Sandy Hook Promise includes cruelty to animals on its “10 Critical Warning Signs of Violence” list, and research shows that approximately 43% of school shooters first committed acts of cruelty against animals—so animal abusers potentially pose a serious threat to communities at large. TeachKind resources are easy to integrate into schools’ existing curricula to help prevent future violence.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. TeachKind offers free presentations, lessons, and other resources to help teachers add compassion to their curricula. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.

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