After two recent videos showing teens abusing cats in Lee County, the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is asking the Lee County School District to make sure its students are taught to show compassion toward animals.
In one video posted to Snapchat, a student reportedly from Lehigh Senior High School is seen luring a cat to come to him. The student then viciously kicks the animal.
Another video, reportedly of a student of Mariner High School in Cape Coral, shows him throwing a cat about 30 feet into the air, then watching it fall to its death on the pavement. That student was later arrested.
"We want to really urge the schools in Lee County to respond proactively to this violent behavior, by recognizing the threat that it poses," said Samantha Suiter of PETA. "And then taking immediate action to prevent more animals, and possibly humans, from being hurt or killed."
Through PETA's TeachKind initiative, the group is offering to send materials to Lee County Schools, in addition to suggesting lesson plans, and hosting classroom presentations via Skype - all for free.
"These materials have a very strong anti-bullying message, which of course is very timely," Suiter said.
In an email to Fox 4, Lee Schools communication director Lauren Still wrote:
"The School District is in receipt of the letter (from PETA) and is reviewing it. It is important to note we have many programs throughout our district that touch on care and compassion of animals, including our K-9 reading buddy programs, our Veterinary Academies along with character education courses."
Stillwell added that the district is proud of the student that reported the abuse, but that neither of the violent incidents against cats happened on school campuses.