Animal rights advocates PETA sent a letter to St Johns County School Superintendent offering “empathy lessons” after photos of the prank went viral.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Warning: A photo of the prank described in this story is below. This is graphic content some might find offensive.
PETA’s humane education division sent a stern letter on Tuesday to the St Johns County School District Superintendent Tim Forson in response to the dead shark that was hung from the rafters as part of a senior prank at Ponte Vedra High School.
The letter references a Florida law mandating teachers provide instruction on fair treatment of animals and offers to provide free curriculum to the schools.
“Compassion and empathy can be learned,” the statement says.
PETA warns that violence against animals can be a precursor to future acts of violence.
First Coast News reported on Monday that a change.org petition has been created seeking criminal charges against the students involved.
The petition said “we are dealing with high school seniors who have a blatant disregard for life and find killing, mutilating, and displaying the body of an animal as “funny” or a “prank this kind of mentality and behavior deserves to be punished.”
The petition currently has over 6,550 signatures with a goal of 7,500. The original goal was 5,000.