A school district in Texas has announced that students and staff members who used cat intestines for skipping rope will not be disciplined. No punishment was doled out in spite of the fact that the animal rights sector was appalled by the video of the activity.
On Wednesday, the North East Independent School District (NEISD) said the project, which took place earlier in this month, was part of a planned lesson for anatomy class at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio.
One video showed students dissecting animals, while some of the students are seen jumping rope with the intestines.
In another video, students seem to be swinging the intestines and another student was jumping over them, writes Lindsey Bever for The Washington Post.
"This was not meant to be disrespectful or degrading," Aubrey Chancellor, a district spokeswoman, told The Washington Post in a statement. "In fact, the students and the teacher are very upset it's being portrayed that way."
There is a continuing investigation into the incident, but the district is not planning to punish the teacher or students because none of those involved had any "ill will," said Chancellor.
The teacher noted that she had done the same lesson when she was in college, and she thought it might be useful for her high school students. The purpose of the illustration was to demonstrate the "tensile strength" of that organ. But Chancellor said there must be a more appropriate manner in which to teach this concept.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a clear stance on classroom dissections. PETA said that more than 10 million animals are killed for classroom dissection every year. The group wrote online:
"Dissection is bad science: 98 percent of medical schools don't require it, studies show that students are less interested in science after being forced to dissect, and it's a super-archaic, cruel way to teach biology and anatomy."
The group added that any action that minimizes the suffering and mutilation of animals violates the guidelines of leading science education organizations. These guidelines explain that animals must be treated ethically and respectfully, reports Madalyn Mendoza for the San Antonio Express-News.
PETA suggests "digital dissection resources" such as computer programs, but for now, NEISD has no plans to change the curriculum as it concerns animal dissections.
The video was shown on the social media site Snapchat, which is where PETA became aware of the incident. Their response was that those involved should be accountable for treating animal body parts in an unethical manner. The group has gone so far as to offer the district use of digital dissection resources.
One of the students in the class said that his anatomy teacher was "passionate" about her job and that she "inspired" students, according to Rachael Revesz of the UK's Independent..
The jump rope experiment will be replaced with another example from now on, reports KSAT-TV. The station also shared a caption posted under one of the video clips that said, "This is anatomy. Jump roping with cat intestines."