For Immediate Release:
May 25, 2021
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Frostburg, Md. – Following reports that two local teenagers face felony cruelty charges after being accused of killing a cat and leaving the animal’s body on a playground, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent a letter to Superintendent Jeffrey Blank of Allegany County Schools this morning urging him to implement lessons in compassion.
“If these reports are true, these teens tormented a cat to death and discarded the animal’s body like a broken toy,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “PETA’s TeachKind division is on standby to help schools teach students that violence is wrong, whether the victim is an animal or a classmate.”
Maryland code requires that county boards develop an “educational bullying, harassment, and intimidation prevention program for students, staff, volunteers, and parents.” TeachKind is sending the school district its “Empathy Now” guide for educators to help address and prevent youth violence against animals along with its free high school social justice curriculum, “Challenging Assumptions,” and its “Share the World” program kit, which is appropriate for young children.
TeachKind notes 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. Its staff members—who are former classroom teachers—are available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host virtual classroom presentations for students, all for free.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s letter to Blank is available upon request. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.