Teacher Punished for Reporting Animal Cruelty
Perpetrators get away with it. What’s wrong with this picture?
School teacher Lorraine Leadingham is finally getting her job back.
Last April, Ms. Leadningham was fired for reporting that six students at the Bath County Middle School in Kentucky had tortured and killed eight baby opossums on school property.
After taking photos of the animals and tracking down who could have done this to them, she went to the police. They said they wouldn’t follow up on this since all she had was hearsay evidence.
Then she went to the school authorities. They said that even though the suspects had by now confessed, the school wouldn’t act because the attack had taken place outside of school hours.
The school authorities may also have been motivated by the fact that the suspects were the sons of prominent local citizens.
So Ms. Leadingham, frustrated and flabbergasted, called the animal rights group PETA to ask for help and advice.
That sent the school authorities over the edge, and they fired her.
Three months later, Ms. Leadingham was invited to an independent tribunal that voted to reinstate her.
What’s a teacher supposed to do. The police wouldn’t act; the school wouldn’t act; and it’s a rule that you’re not supposed to give the names of students to an outside agency.
Quite apart from the fact that torturing and killing animals is totally unacceptable, it’s well-known that kids who practice cruelty to animals may be seriously disturbed and require immediate and urgent intervention. Often they come from homes where there are other kinds of domestic violence. According to current research, kids who are sexually abused are five times more likely than other children to abuse animals, and 50 percent of kids who take part in school shootings have a history of animal abuse.