Local Schools to Receive Empathy Curricula From PETA as Teen Faces Cruelty-to-Animals Charges

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Brimfield, Ill.

Following reports that a 16-year-old boy faces charges after he allegedly killed a cat by throwing the animal out of the window of a moving car on U.S. Route 150 and posted the cruel act on Snapchat, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—jumped into action, sending Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat and Brimfield School District Superintendent Chad Jones urgent letters today.

The letters point the districts’ leaders to TeachKind’s 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 the districts’ high schools copies of Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassionby PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

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 Peoria and Brimfield schools teach their 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 TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.

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