PETA Stresses Need to Teach Anti-Bullying and Compassion in the Classroom After Cruel Videos Are Shared at School, on Social Media
For Immediate Release:
December 12, 2017
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Lee County, Fla. – Teenagers have been filmed abusing cats in two recent incidents in Lee County, prompting TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—to send letters today to schools in the area urging them to implement humane education. One video, which was reportedly shared for three weeks around Mariner High School before a student turned in the alleged abuser, shows a teen—who has since been arrested on a third-degree felony charge—throwing a cat more than 30 feet into the air and then watching her fall to her apparent death. The other video, which was reportedly shared on Snapchat, allegedly shows a student at Lehigh Senior High School luring a cat over to him before violently kicking the animal.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—has asked the district superintendent to ensure that students know to report cruelty to animals when they see it. The group has also offered the area’s high schools and middle schools free “Bullies Are Just Cowards: Report Abuse When You See It!” posters and sent elementary schools its Share the World curriculum kits, which are appropriate for even the youngest learners. They also help schools comply with Florida’s character-education mandate, which states that students must be taught kindness to animals.
“We’re facing a bullying epidemic, so when two teens brazenly abuse—and in one case reportedly kill—cats and brag about it at school and on social media, it’s cause for serious concern,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is urging schools to help prevent incidents of cruelty to animals by teaching kids respect for others.”
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 is available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations for students via Skype—all for free.
TeachKind contacted schools in Ontario, California, after an incident similar to the two in Lee County occurred there earlier this month.
The group’s letters are available upon request. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.