What This School Does for a Duck Is Your Inspiration Today

While TeachKind is often inundated with cases in which teens—and even elementary school kids—are cruel to animals (reminding us why humane education is SO crucial), this story isn’t like that. This story is one of such kindness that you might need a tissue handy.

For 13 years, the courtyard at Village Elementary School in Hartland, Michigan, has been home to a mother duck—whom the school named Vanessa—who lays her eggs there. Each year, the school does something amazing when the eggs hatch. Because the ducklings are too young to fly away from the closed-off courtyard safely, the students and staff close the hallway in the school so that the mama and her duckling family can pass through. They even use paper and other materials to secure a safe pathway for the family. This compassionate idea came from now-retired teacher Ruth Darrah.


Squee! How wonderful is that? Because of the true thoughtfulness and compassion shown for this duck family, TeachKind is giving Darrah a Hero to Animals Award and Village Elementary School a Compassionate Action Award.

hartland, michigan school award for helping duck award to village elementary school teacher for helping duck

The folks at Village Elementary are leading by example—showing their students that animals are individuals who care about the same things that we humans do: keeping their family safe and living a life free from harm. You don’t need a duck friend at your school to do the same—just use TeachKind’s numerous lesson plans and activities to teach your students that animals are not ours to use.

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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