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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).

Let’s deconstruct:

  • 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: 

TCA Speaks Out Against The After-School Demonstration

  • 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.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mike Grieco #

    WHAT THE H…is the TCA teaching the children as they try to form their view on "LIFE"?!
    It is certainly NOT RESPECT for All Life,I see!!

    "The FATE of all life will be determined by how we humans treat all life!"-MG


    May 27, 2007
  2. As an alumnus of TCA, and a member of the House Rabbit Society, you can imagine I’m pretty ticked off. However, this has happened before and odds are good it’ll happen again with another animal not a python. You have to literally listen to their words.

    Keep in mind Trinity is under scrutiny for allegedly helping a child molesting preacher escape to Germany without any accountability.

    Studies have shown a connection between animal cruelty and crimes like child molestation, murder, etc. I contend this is a sympton of a much greater problem.

    My blog has more info on the world of TCA and fundamentalism. It’s hard to believe, I realize, but it’s amazing the corruption that exists right under our nose.

    May 28, 2007
  3. Check out the above mentioned blog:
    I'd say it's shocking, but it really isn't.
    I wonder if anyone has asked Mr. Weatherford and the Trinity Christian Academy: What Would Jesus Do?
    From what I've seen and read, if there's a Jesus, he's nowhere near the TCA.

    May 28, 2007
  4. tom #

    you people are in a fuckin fanstasy world….snakes eat rabbits…snakes eat anything they can get…why because their hungry…grow up its reality…what's shocking in today's society is people get mad at this and allow fuckin homo's in society…

    June 4, 2007
  5. "Tom,"

    Clearly, you didn't get the memo that this blog requires intelligent comments that reflect common decency, respect and an ability to properly use the English language.

    Go elsewhere.

    June 4, 2007
  6. prad #

    in nature (your reference to 'reality'), bunnies just aren't waved in front of a python by a human hand. also, grabbing a rabbit by the scruff of the neck really isn't the proper way to hold a rabbit in the first place.

    finally, i think it would be a good idea for you to pay attention to what mary has pointed out regarding your verbal abilities. perhaps you should enroll in TCA?

    June 6, 2007
  7. Sandy #

    I grew up believing that a sign of good character is in how you treat the elderly, the young and animals. I believe that Whit Weatherford has displayed his true character. It is most distressing that this took place at a school (and Christian no less) which is supposed to be teaching our young how to be kind, responsible and intelligent adults. There was not a shread of educational value to this horrendously cruel display. If Weatherford had instead invited the students to view a National Geographic documentary on animals eating other animals I assure you no students would have accepted the invite. In the wild the rabbit has the chance to escape. The most horrible part of this display was that the rabbits instincts were active yet she had no chance of survival being held in Weatherfords vice grip. I saw part of the video early on the morning of May 25 on the Fox news channel. I could not get to the remote fast enough to turn the TV off. It has bothered me tremendously since. That is why we have Virginia Tech shootings, Kelsey Smith murders anf the like. If I had a student attending Trinity "Christian" Academy, I would have pulled that student out immediately. Administrator Lindstam seems not to be bothered by the lack of morales with one of his staff. I guess that's a telling sign of his true character also!

    June 8, 2007

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