PETA's Humane-Education Division Stresses Need for Zero-Tolerance and Anti-Bullying Policies That Include Cruelty to Animals
For Immediate Release:
May 14, 2015
Okaloosa County, Fla. – Following reports that a 14-year-old Laurel Hill boy is facing charges after allegedly beating his mother; killing a dog, a chicken, and two parakeets; and injuring two more dogs, TeachKind—PETA’s humane-education division—rushed a letter to the Okaloosa County School District superintendent this morning calling on her to include cruelty to animals in the district’s zero-tolerance and anti-bullying policies. In its letter, the group explains that abusing animals can lead to continued antisocial behavior, from further acts of cruelty against animals to bullying, aggression, and violence against humans. TeachKind and PETA—whose mottos read, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—have also sent letters offering free copies of their “Abuse: Report It if You See It” poster to each school in the area in the hope of preventing future abuse.
“This case is a chilling reminder that people who hurt animals will often continue to act violently and harm others until their behavior is checked,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “As schools across the country face an epidemic of bullying, TeachKind is asking Okaloosa County schools to let students know that any kind of cruelty or insensitivity is wrong by adding cruelty to animals to their anti-bullying and zero-tolerance policies.”
As TeachKind points out in its letters, many school shooters “began” by abusing animals—making early enforcement action even more crucial. 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’s staff is always available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations with students via Skype—all for free.
TeachKind’s letter to the superintendent of the Okaloosa County School District is available upon request. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.