I remember the first time my young self encountered a flip cat in the wash near my desert home. I took a stick to flip over the dead feline baked hard by the hot sun, saw the fat maggots still gorging themselves after having eaten half of "Whiskers" and ran like hell in fear.
More hardening with age eventually led me to join other bratty kids in grabbing flip cats by the tail and flinging them like plastic flying discs. If that sounds sick, consider what some of today's Newport Harbor High School students are accused of doing with cats that are no more.
The Washington, D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit that promotes healthy eating, medical ethics and alternatives to animal research, has sent Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials a letter about the "fun" students are having with cats they have dissected in Harbor High science classes.
Accompanying the letter are photos pulled from students' Facebook pages that apparently show teens in various poses with dead cats in a classroom, as well as one feline's severed head in a school locker. (At least it's not drugs or a gun, right?) Comments to these posts include, "Someone put down Puss in Boots" and "baha yeah we dissected it."
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommended in the letter that the district interview the science teacher, suspend the use of animal carcasses in classes and send the involved students to a psychologist for evaluation. Dissecting animals sends the wrong message to children, who are taught killing and carving up animals is righteous, according to the group, which opposes vivisection.
"Abundant medical literature shows that children who abuse animals are more likely to be abusive toward human beings later in life," the letter states. "In this context, animal abuse includes callous behavior toward animals killed for other purposes. Cats are especially common targets."
The district is investigating, but school board president David Brooks tells The Daily Pilot he suspects the photos just show "students being students" and that none of the alleged behaviors appeared to be malicious or harmful.
This is, of course, the same school district where three varsity football players at Corona del Mar High posted a video on the school's Facebook page in which they threw homophobic remarks at one student and described how and where they would rape a girl before shooting her to death. The perceived crime of the athletes' targets: they were involved in a student movement to mount a production of the Broadway musical Rent.
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The girl's parents were assured by a vice principal the three boys, as well as a fourth whose Facebook page hosted the video, would be punished. But days later, the boys were still on campus, and the one with the profile page confronted the girl and threatened her again.
Makes one wonder what the lads had cut up and played with in their science class.