A New Appeal to Fight Bullying in Missouri: PETA Posters for Schools

As Part of National Youth Violence Prevention Week, PETA Offers Locker Ads Showing the Link Between Cruelty to Animals and Cruelty to Humans

For Immediate Release:
March 30, 2016

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Jefferson City, Mo. – As National Youth Violence Prevention Week (April 4–8) approaches, PETA has a unique offer for public schools in Jefferson City: “Bullies Are Just Cowards—Report Abuse When You See It!” posters from TeachKind, the group’s humane-education division, to decorate lockers.

In a letter to Superintendent Larry Linthacum today, PETA notes that a recent study found that Missouri has the highest incidence of bullying on high school property, and the state is currently reviewing anti-bullying laws. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that criminal-profile studies show that many people who are violent toward animals in their youth grow up to commit violent crimes against humans.

“If you teach a child to be kind to a mouse, you do as much for the child as you do for the mouse—because you have taught that child the value of kindness and understanding,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA’s poster urges young people to go to their parents, their teachers, or the police to report cruelty to animals and help safeguard all of Jefferson City’s residents, young or old, human or not.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Jefferson City Public Schools Superintendent Larry Linthacum follows.

March 30, 2016

Larry Linthacum
Superintendent
Jefferson City Public Schools

Dear Superintendent Linthacum:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Missouri, with an offer to help strengthen anti-bullying initiatives in schools during National Youth Violence Prevention Week this April. We’d like to send you some of PETA’s “Bullies Are Just Cowards—Report Abuse When You See It!” posters to place on lockers. They help students understand that abusing any other living being simply because he or she is smaller, weaker, or different is never acceptable.

As I’m sure you know, a recent study found that Missouri has the highest percentage of high school students bullied on school property. Now that the state Senate is reviewing legislation to compel school districts to revisit their anti-bullying policies and prohibit bullying on school property, it’s a great time to encourage students to consider the broader effects of bullying. 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 because 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 Jefferson City’s residents, young or old, human or not. We would love to work with you to make this happen. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Marta Holmberg
Senior Director of Youth Outreach

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“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