PETA calls for humane education in Hamilton Co. schools - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

PETA calls for humane education in Hamilton Co. schools

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: PETA's humane-education division, TeachKind, sent letters Tuesday to schools in the Hamilton County Department of Education to call for humane education in the classroom. TeachKind has also asked the superintendent to include a prohibition on cruelty to animals in the districts zero-tolerance policy. 

In TeachKind's letters it explains that abusing animals can lead to continued antisocial behavior. from further acts of cruelty against animals to bullying, aggression, and violence against humans. 

"This raccoon's agonizing death is a painful reminder that now is the time to start teaching young people kindness," says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. 

TeachKind says, 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.


?PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency confirms it is investigating the killing of a wild raccoon last Thursday at East Hamilton High School.

The incident was caught on tape by a witness and is troubling to students who see no apparent discipline from school officials for the raccoon killing teen.

"John, what are we trying to do?", asks the photographer. 

" I need someone to come down and grab it while I hold up this piece," responds the knife wielding teen.

" What is it," asks the cameraman.

"A raccoon," says the teen, who we will not identify due to his age and lack of any current criminal charges.

" I got a Snapchat from this kid, I really couldn't see his face but I know who he was, of a knife in his hands, stomping on the head of a raccoon out in the parking lot of the school," says Zachary Warren with an anguished look on his face as he speaks of the graphic memory.

"Normal people shouldn't do something like that to an animal," says Forrest Hickman. "  I mean hunting is one thing, but just killing it for the fun, I mean that's not normal."

"My first reaction was I thought they were idiots, I couldn't believe it, I mean why would you want to do that?," asks Warren.

East Hamilton High seniors Zachary Warren and Forrest Hickman say not only are they disgusted by what a 15 year old classmate did to a defenseless raccoon, but the seeming lack of consequences.

" You just can't sweep this under the rug, I mean they did what they did, they should at least get suspended in the very least," says Zachary Warren.

A Hamilton County Sheriff's SRO on campus did report the incident, which is currently being investigated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

TWRA spokesperson Mimi Barnes says there are no laws on the books for animal cruelty involving wildlife and any charges that may be filed in this case would come from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Forrest Hickman says the brutality caught on tape and the seeming lack of regard from school officials is troubling.

"It's very disappointing to me because I know I've gotten in trouble for just little petty things and something like this happens..and nothing becomes of it, it just doesn't make sense," says Hickman.

Late Thursday afternoon, East Hamilton Principal Gail Chuy responded to our numerous inquiries for comment on the incident.

Chuy confirms the killing did happen but stresses it happened after school hours and the knife used was never brought into the building.

Contrary to the East Hamilton students we spoke to, Principal Chuy says the knife wielding student has been disciplined, but declined to specify.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer James Lea says the incident is under review.

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