Teacher’s Cruelty Charges Prompt Appeal to Ban Classroom Animals

PETA's Humane Education Division Stresses Need to Teach Compassion in Classrooms

For Immediate Release:
November 26, 2019

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Nashville – A teacher from McGavock High School is facing cruelty-to-animals charges following the death of an emu who had been kept at the school, and now TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—has sent a letter urging Metro Nashville Public Schools to keep animals safe by leaving them out of district programs.

TeachKind notes that several alpacas kept at the school reportedly died of neglect in March and that animal control investigators found issues involving various other animals. The district has also seen numerous incidents of juvenile cruelty to animals—most recently in October, when a 12-year-old apparently admitted to beating a cat, throwing the animal into a dumpster, and leaving him or her to die. TeachKind had previously offered to help the district implement humane education in all classrooms, and it has contacted this school directly because of this recent incident.

“After a rash of juvenile cruelty-to-animals incidents, a teacher dangerously seems to have provided a model of how not to treat animals,” says PETA Director of Student Campaigns and Influence Rachelle Owen. “Animals have faced an epidemic of dangerous situations in classrooms, and TeachKind is urging the district to safeguard them by getting them out of classrooms and replacing them with lessons in empathy.”

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. TeachKind has offered middle and high schools in the district free “Every Living Being Matters: Report Abuse If You See It!” posters and sent elementary schools there its “Share the World” curriculum kits, which include lesson plans that aim to foster empathy for animals and are appropriate for even the youngest learners. The group’s staff is also available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations for students via Skype—all for free.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.

For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.

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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