For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2023
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Oklahoma City – Following reports that police charged two Deer Creek Village teens with felony cruelty to animals last week after a video posted to social media appeared to show youths punching, slapping, and kicking two dogs, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent the superintendent of Deer Creek Schools an urgent letter today, along with kindness-to-animals curricula and Empathy Now, a guide to preventing violence by young people, for all educators in the district.
“Young people apparently getting their kicks by posting a video of themselves mercilessly beating whimpering, cowering dogs shows 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 is on standby to help Deer Creek Schools teach its students that violence is wrong, whether the victim is a canine or a classmate.”
Allegedly, a second video posted online showed the teens threatening a middle school, and police found firearms while arresting one of them. Sandy Hook Promisecruelty 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 would be easily integrated into the district’s existing curriculum to help prevent future violence.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. Its other free resources include a high school social justice curriculum (Challenging Assumptions) and the Share the World program kit for young children, both of which it is sending to Deer Creek Schools.