New Anti-Bullying Law Prompts PETA Posters for Schools

Lockers and Bulletin-Board Ads Show the Link Between Bullying Animals and Bullying Humans—and Ask Kids to Report Abuse Whenever They See It

For Immediate Release:
October 13, 2017

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Buffalo, N.Y. – On the heels of a new law in North Tonawanda that will hold parents accountable for their children’s bullying, PETA has a unique offer for public schools in the district: free “Bullies Are Just Cowards—Report Abuse When You See It!” posters from TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, which are designed to raise awareness and stop bullying in its tracks.

In a letter sent to Superintendent Gregory J. Woytila today, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that according to leading mental-health professionals and law-enforcement agencies, perpetrators of violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders who pose a serious threat to the community at large.

“PETA’s posters teach kids that abusing any living being simply because he or she is smaller, weaker, or different is never acceptable,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Kids who hurt animals often move on to hurting humans, so stopping the cycle of violence can start with encouraging students to report any kind of abuse when they see it.”

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PETA’s letter to North Tonawanda City School District Superintendent Gregory J. Woytila follows.

October 13, 2017

Gregory J. Woytila

Superintendent of Schools North Tonawanda City School District

Dear Superintendent Woytila,

I’m writing from TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, which works with schools across the country to promote compassion for animals. On behalf of our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands across New York, we’re extending an offer to help strengthen anti-bullying initiatives in your schools, now that the North Tonawanda Common Council has passed a law that will hold parents accountable for their children’s bullying. We’d like to send you TeachKind’s “Bullies Are Just Cowards—Report Abuse When You See It!” posters to place on lockers, bulletin boards, or anywhere else in the school that can reach students and help them understand that abusing any other living being simply because he or she is smaller, weaker, or different is never acceptable. These posters have been well received and are popular.

As I’m sure you know, more than one out of every five students reports being bullied, but according to one study, 64 percent of children who are bullied do not inform an adult. Now that this new law is in place to protect children from being bullied, placing our locker ad would be a great way for North Tonawanda School District to help students and staff recognize bullying when they see it, as well as letting them know that there’s no reason to be afraid to report abuse of humans or animals. It is, of course, unacceptable to mistreat any living being, and animals, like children, are hurt by bullying— sometimes even more so because they can’t understand why they must repress their natural behavior or what they have done “wrong,” and they can’t express their pain in words. Many dogs are bullied into submission every day by those whose responsibility it is to care for them. How awful it must feel to be chained outdoors in freezing weather, punished with a painful shock collar, or threatened with bodily harm for not being able to hold their urine for long hours or for making a “mistake.”

Studies by psychiatrists, sociologists, and law-enforcement officials have demonstrated that children who abuse animals are more likely to go on to be violent toward humans later. The peer-to-peer violence that has rocked schools in recent years has invariably occurred after students engaged in acts of cruelty to animals. As just one example among many, extreme as it is, Columbine students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold spoke excitedly of mutilating animals before shooting and killing their classmates.

Our offer would help safeguard all of North Tonawanda’s residents, young or old, human or animal. We would love to work with you to make this happen. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.


Lisbet Chiriboga, M.S. Ed.

TeachKind Coordinator, PETA

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind