Biology Teacher Whit Weathorford and His Shockingly-Heartless Students
I haven’t been this disgusted with the behavior of an adult who is supposed to care for and educate our nation’s children since science teacher Bob Pearson supervised his students raising pigs for slaughter to pay for their senior trip.
Jacksonville’s Trinity Christian Academy’s biology teacher, Whit Weatherford, wanted to teach his students something (we’re not sure what) about pythons in their natural environment. And to that end, he waved a terrified rabbit in the face of a Burmese python–in the classroom. He taunted the python with the petrified rabbit as she squirmed and wriggled and tried desperately to escape his grasp. Then the python wrapped himself around the rabbit and swallowed her whole.
How do I know this? Because a student videotaped it (for YouTube, but I believe it’s been taken down from there) and I watched it. You can too (click on the Play link in the Video box).
- Yes, pythons do kill animals in the wild. But most do not need live food and people who keep Burmese pythons in captivity are recommended to feed them mice or rats who have been humanely killed.
- The rabbit clearly wasn’t willing to become a meal, and might have escaped or "won" the battle by injuring the python, if she had been free to.
- The statement by the school is:
In response to the after school feeding demonstration involving a snake and a rabbit, TCA Administrator Clay Lindstam speaks out on the issue. "The instructor involved did not use the best discernment in allowing the demonstration. We have taken steps to ensure this type of event doesn’t happen again. The school uses lessons and curricula that teach respect for God’s creative handiwork and this event did not support that."
- Don’t get me started on the god thing. At least Lindstam claims "this type of event" won’t happen again.
- For me, the most disturbing part of this "educational exercise," was the reaction of the kids. They laughed. They had absolutely no respect for the life of the rabbit at all. They cheered on the python and enjoyed the entire spectacle. In fact, after, one male student said: "it was fun, but there was definitely educational value." What I want to know is: where was the fun AND where was the educational value? (Not to mention where’d the teacher get the rabbit from.)
- Another interesting tidbit is that this "learning experience" was optional, which the teacher emphasizes. Therefore, he’s admitting that it wasn’t necessary to feed the rabbit to the python in order to teach the students anything. For the students and the teacher, it was "fun" to watch the rabbit’s life end. It was entertainment of the most hideous kind.
- Finally, though the kids clearly are already desensitized to animal cruelty, which they sufficiently demonstrated with their reaction, this type of useless demonstration only increases their level of disrespect for other sentient beings and their inability to feel compassion for the suffering of nonhuman animals.
As Randall Lockwood, senior VP of animal-cruelty initiatives and training for the ASPCA said, "The issue of [feeding the live rabbit to the python] in school in front of
students who could be desensitized to animal cruelty seems to be
unnecessary and gratuitous and of very little educational value."
Have something of educational value to say to Trinity Christian Academy? Contact them.
Trinity Christian Academy
Dr. Clayton Lindstam, Administrator
Phone: (904) 596-2400
Jacksonville Animal Care and Control concluded that
nothing criminal occured. However, when you watch the demonstration, it’s clear that it was designed to cause deliberate
and unnecessary suffering to an animal, and that’s a violation of Florida
law. Please contact Animal Care and Control and urge them to take
another look at the incident.
Terry Marques, Operations Manager
Animal Care and Control
Phone: (904) 387-8924
Thanks to the bloggers at the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida for alerting me to this distressing story.