Local Schools to Receive Empathy Curricula From PETA After Violent Attack on Dog

For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

El Paso, Texas

Following reports that authorities are investigating a group of Charles Q. Murphree PK–8 School students after a young person was caught on video beating a family’s dog while other individuals watched and recorded the attack—in addition to reports of a separate attack this week, at Hurshel Antwine Middle School, video footage of which shows a student throwing a teacher to the ground as she tries to break up a fight in her classroom—TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, sent El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Diana Sayavedra an urgent letter stressing the need for humane education that fosters empathy for all living, feeling beings. The group also sent kindness-to-animals educational materials, including “Empathy Now,” a guide to preventing violence by young people, and its “Share the World” curriculum kit, which includes lessons that aim to foster empathy for animals and are appropriate for even the youngest learners. TeachKind is sending “Challenging Assumptions,” which helps examine discrimination and other social justice issues, for the district’s secondary students, along with a set of anti-bullying posters, too.

teachkind empathy now cover image child and dog

The attack, video footage of which was reportedly shared in a group chat, appears to show a young person beating a dog by kicking, stomping on, and hitting him repeatedly as the canine seemingly tries to escape. The video apparently includes audio in which someone asks, “Are you gonna make him throw up?” along with sounds of people laughing throughout the vicious attack.

“When young people find it amusing to beat a vulnerable dog and record footage of his suffering, it’s clear that humane education is sorely needed,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Compassion can be cultivated, and TeachKind stands ready to help El Paso schools teach their students that every sentient being, whether a canine 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 TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.

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