The words in the title are those of a former student at Culpeper High School in Virginia. Her name is Brynnan. She was a new student at the school at the time. At home, she is very close to the family cat Sparta. Clearly, she loves her cat and has an emotional connection to her cat companion.
I’m sure that in the anatomy class, which she was keen to attend, there were also a good number of other students who are emotionally connected to the family cat. And yet, despite this being obvious to anybody with a modicum of intelligence, the school wanted her to skin and dissect the carcass of a cat which may well have been someone’s pet and which may well have been euthanized at a local shelter.
In a bizarre twist, the schoolteacher conducting the anatomy class told the students that if they had a black cat at home they should pick a white cat from the dead cats which were available to them and vice versa in order to, I suppose, dissociate themselves from the emotional connection that they have with their own cat. As if that suggestion would make it easier for the students.
“The teacher told us if we have a black cat at home, pick a white cat and vice versa. Like the colour of their fur changes how I feel about ripping the fur from a cat who, no matter what, will remind me of my baby Sparta!” (Brynnan when speaking to her mother).
Her mother, Tamira Thayne, was horrified and has started a petition on the change.org website to request that the Culpeper County Public Schools, the school in question and others, ban cat dissection in their classrooms.
Her mother had to make a very difficult decision. As mentioned, her daughter had recently started a new school and therefore she did not want to kick up a fuss and quite possibly be alienated by other students and create friction with the teachers and administrators. That would have made matters worse. The alternative was to allow her daughter to carry on dissecting a cat in the anatomy class which was traumatic to her daughter.
In the event, her mother decided, reluctantly, to pull her daughter from the school and I presume to find a new school for her. The mother wisely states that her first duty is to protect her daughter.
As an outsider, I find the decision of the particular school in question and the education authorities in this area to insist that students dissect cats to be wholly incorrect, insensitive and thoughtless. Although it has to be admitted that some students don’t care and disrespect the cat reflecting an attitude amongst some sections of society which is not conducive to animal welfare.
As there are alternatives to actual physical dissection in the classroom such as computer simulations and 3-D models, there is no justification in 21st-century to request young women and young men to dissect someone’s pet cat.
There was another high profile story similar to this one not so long ago. I wonder how prevalent this is across America.